Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Perhaps its because the first pot pies I experienced were those cheap foil-panned things at the grocery store. They were so disappointing that I stopped buying them decades ago. Yes, Decades. As in 30 years or more!
This week I had some leftover chicken and I LUV homemade biscuits so I followed Michael Chu's recipe over at http://www.cookingforengineers.com/ to serve up this all-American dish. My Beloved was smitten! (And he's not even an engineer!)
What I like about Chu's recipe is that the sauce is cooked from scratch using broth and milk and NOT using that cream soup in the familiar red/white label. So if you know how to toss together a simple cream sauce (aka gravy), you can put together this yummy dish.
I did notice that Chu's biscuit recipe made a more scant topping than his photo shows. Other than that? Yummy! (p.s. When baking biscuits the secret is to NOT knead the dough. Barely pat together well enough to be able to roll out on the counter top and cut. )
Changes I would make to Chu's recipe...perhaps increase the veggies by one-third. Still...superb recipe as is.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Why the difference? Why does one church grow and another slowly die away.
There are probably a number of answers to that question...the community itself has shrunk, young folk are not interested in "church", etc. But many of the failing churches with which I am acquainted have been lead by ministers who for decades have failed to clearly present the gospel. Their messages have been sentimental stories that they weave into a 20-minute presentation. The congregation considers it a good sermon if the pastor speaks with a good sense of humor and they go away feeling good about themselves, satisfied that they have been holy because they got up this morning and went to church. They never hear about their own sin and their need for a Savior. They only hear fuzzy, happy words. They "believe in Jesus" but they don't know who Jesus is. If they've picked up a Bible in the past ten years it was to wipe the dust away and lay it back down again.
Other churches are vibrant with a membership of all age groups. Children are visible in every pew. There is a buzz of activity as people flow through the doors with people warmly greeting each other. The service itself can be formally traditional or contemporary in its worship but all parts will point towards a righteous, holy God.
But the best part is the sermon! The pastor teaches from the Bible and clearly lays out scripture to his people. He reminds them that because of Adam we are all sinners (Romans 3:23 and Romans 5:12) and that as believers we are justified by grace alone (God's good gift to us) through Jesus Christ (Romans 3:24-26). He will remind his congregation that because of Adam we are born in a condition of sin (Romans 5:12) and also states the remedy, clearing laying out verses such as Romans 5:8-10. (You can run your cursor over the scriptures to read them, and on the longer passages click on 'more' to read its entirety.)
Of course, there are other scriptures that lay out the same good news and so many that are important to answering our questions about God. But I'm in Romans so I'm staying there. Romans 5:17-21 continues on with "those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ" and "through the obedience of the One (Christ) the many will be made righteous" and finally in verse 21 "so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
I'm not saying these particular verses will be taught every Sunday. No, no, no. I'm saying that the church will be taught clear doctrines of the Bible such as the divinity of Christ (John 1:1-5; Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:2-3), the origin of sin (Genesis 3), the remedy for our condition (Romans 3:24-25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10; Romans 10:9-10), the promise of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 1:22-26).
This is rather a simple overview. I'm not complex with words, and to lay out more would make this entry too long for a quick read. What I'm saying is that a growing church is one that clearly presents the teachings of the Bible in a way that invites the hearer to bow down to a sovereign God. Those whom God calls will walk into such a church and know they are home...or at least as close to home as we will get before our final destination!
I will add this ... when I am hearing clear Biblical teaching, my heart sings. We are fortunate that we attend two churches (one here and one in the city) where such teaching is the order of the day.
(I will add this note: There are mega-churches out there who teach a false feel-good religion and they draw crowds of ten-thousands. There are also large churches who teach a false health/wealth message. They fail to teach the doctrines of grace and instead teach the doctrines of man. I'm speaking here only to the issue of fading small town churches and the difference I see between them and another church across town.)
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Yesterday I had a hankering for chicken-noodle soup so I made some home-made egg noodles using a recipe in my rather ancient Betty Crocker cookbook from the 1960s. The book is falling to pieces...the spine is missing...the pages are stained and marked from the years. It's my source for pancakes, pies, noodles, and a handful of other recipes that I can't seem to commit to memory as some cooks do. (I've tried using store noodles...they're just not quite the same when it comes to chicken-noodle soup.)
Making egg noodles is really rather simple...mix together some flour, egg, salt and water. Knead for 5-10 minutes. Let rest. Roll out very thin. Cut thin. Let dry. Drying is important, so don't rush. The recipe mentions cooking in salted water...I've never tried that. I prefer chicken broth that I make ahead of time from leftover chicken pieces or from the bones left from roast chicken. Generally those yield small amounts which I freeze and accumulate until I have enough for a large batch of noodles.
Here's the recipe as written by Betty herself. (Don't forget, you can click on photos.)
HOMEMADE EGG NOODLES (I used a half recipe...you do the math on the eggs. heh-heh)
2 cups flour
3 egg yolks
2 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
Measure flour into bowl; make a well in center and add egg yolks, whole egg and salt. With hands (Yep, your fingers are going to do the dirty work!) thoroughly mix egg into flour. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. (Add only enough water to form dough into a ball.)
Turn dough onto well-floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (You may have to dust the surface with a bit more flour every now and then.) Cover with clean dish towel; let rest 10 minutes.
Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll dough, 1 part at a time, into paper-thin rectangle, keeping remaining dough covered. (Again..add flour as needed to keep from sticking.) Roll rectangle around rolling pin; slip out rolling pin.
Cut dough crosswise into 1/8 or 1/4 inch strips. Shake out and place on floured surface (or clean dishtowel) to dry, about 2 hours. (I let mine dry overnight.)
When dry, break into smaller pieces. Cook in 3 quarts boiling salted water (1 T salt) 12 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain thoroughly. Makes about 6 cups noodles. (I cooked mine in chicken broth with bits of chicken included. If you are simply cooking the noodles to be used as ""noodles", 3 quarts of liquid may be fine. But if you are making soup, you will want a lot more liquid as you want the soup to have plenty of broth. If you have leftover soup, the noodles tend to swell and soak up the broth and the broth is a most important, tasty part of the soup!)
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The monument, officially titled "To The Struggle Against World Terrorism" was dedicated at the northeast corner of Bayonne Peninsula in New Jersey on September 11, 2006, the fifth anniversary of the attacks on the United States. You can click on "this monument" in the first paragraph or you can read a small brochure about it here.
I wonder sometimes if there is some standard, some buzz factor, that determines whether or not a national news item hits the headlines. I would be delighted if news networks would bring back the days of honest, forthright reporting and get rid of the omnipresent editorializing and sensationalism.
And continuing in that vein, I hope you will join me in refusing to click on any online news link that addresses the ongoing saga of the octomom. She alone could take up 18 years of your news reading life if you follow her/their story to adulthood.
Monday, March 23, 2009
- Four years ago we bought a Bosch dishwasher. Love it. Quiet. Cleans great. Best dishwasher I've ever had.
- A month ago we received a recall notice with a warning not to use the dishwasher until it is repaired due to "risk of fire".
- Today the replacement part arrived in the mail.
- Got hold of the repair service first try with a real live person at the other end of the phone. Repair is scheduled for Monday.
- All seems well so far other than I'm hand-washing for the next week. That's no big deal. There are only two of us in the household. How many dirty dishes can we generate anyway?
THEN...I used google to find an online forum of others dealing with the recall. I kid you not, the horror stories were terrible! Impossible to get Bosch online to order the part! The part didn't arrive for weeks! The repairman botched the repair!One machine even caught fire AFTER the repair! Two pages of complaints! I was getting a little anxious about it all until I recognized that for every complaint, there are probably a dozen happy customers. It's just that the unhappy ones are the ones who take the time to post a rant. The happy ones don't bother...they just go about living their lives and enjoying their still-working now-repaired dishwasher.
I think I'll take the complaints with a grain of salt. And hope by Monday night my dishwasher is happily chugging along, doing its job as usual. (She said with a roll of her eyes.)
Sunday, March 22, 2009
I think it is a true statement to say that those who have gone through suffering (of whatever kind) are able to be compassionate in a way that others might not be able. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns and each individual life will experience its own trauma and trouble. I believe that those who have suffered and have experienced the grace of God during their time of suffering are able to extend compassion and prayer towards others in a way that has been enhanced by their own experience. Their own passage through pain gives them an empathy for those in similar pain.
If that be so, then I welcome the suffering for it is a blessing of God to me. On the one hand He comforts me and on the other hand He teaches me to be of comfort to others in a way that I did not do before. And I pray that through all of this my heart will become more compassionate towards others.
As for my illness? Each day is going well, so for those friends and family who read here, thank you for your thoughts and prayers on my/our behalf.
And! Aren't we all happy to see Spring on its way! My daffodils are poking green leaves up through the ground! I so look forward to seeing them bloom within a few short days.
May your day be graced with God's good blessings.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I did not read it. I hit the delete button.
I probably missed out on Millions of Dollars.
So Sad!! Perhaps I should have forwarded it to Congress or the White House! Or sent it directly to AIG or some other deserving company to help pay their executive bonuses!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
During my working years I was in charge of the files in our office...eight cabinets...32 deep drawers packed with folders. It was my task to thoroughly go through the files once a year, folder by folder, purging out-dated papers. It was a tedious process but one which afforded me a constant reminder of "what" was "where".
It's been a long time since I've gone through our personal files so I've begun the process. Some items have personal ID info and those items will be shredded. Others can be simply tossed. (The shredder is getting a real workout!)
It's amazing how much clutter we allow into our lives and I'm not talking about just paperwork. My desk is a perfect example for it is covered with items "I might need" or things that "I'll do later". My kitchen cupboards are packed with food items and spices that are outdated (how long does thyme hold its flavor?). My dresser drawers are full of winter clothes that I have not worn in two or three years and my stash of summer clothes is just as overloaded. I feel like a packrat.
I used to enjoy a lot of "collectible clutter" but as I get older I'm desiring simplicity. So this past month spring housecleaning has begun. It may progress slowly, but a bit here and a bit there will eventually add up.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
I'm thinking to myself, "Perils? Would it be fair to say the life of the embryo is imperiled? Wouldn't the destruction of that life be a definite peril?"
This executive order means that research will now involve the intentional destruction of human embryos.
Doesn't it seem a bit twisted to say it is okay to create life and then to destroy that same life in order to provide benefit (possibly, maybe, maybe not) to another human being?
And if that seems okay, then why wouldn't it be okay to destroy life at another set point (10 years? 20 years? 65 years?) if by so doing one could benefit many other lives?
That sounds outlandish, you say? Then let me pose it this way! What if science could by killing a single human being, say about 10 years old, thereby provide the cure for cancer for millions of individuals? Would that be ethical?
Of course not. So the discussion here is not really about whether it is ethical to kill one life in order to save others pain and suffering. The discussion is REALLY about whether or not an embryo is LIFE.
However you look at it, here is the honest truth. Every one of us, every last living human being on earth, was younger yesterday than we are today. And the week before, we were younger yet. Three years ago my great-grandson was at his very youngest -- an embryo. And some numerous decades ago I was an embryo. And at the earliest point of your life you were an embryo. We were all embryos that in time grow to birth, childhood, adulthood, old age. That's simple biology.
Life begins as an embryo. At the moment of conception all the components for that individual's humanity has come together. We lie to ourselves if we forget that. And we lie to ourselves if we think that a few embryos here or there really don't matter. Our own morality is in question if we think so.
Psalm 139:13-16 says “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.”
I find it quite surprising that a number of people have arrived at my old post on "I Can Write a Snore" and if you haven't read it you can click here to do so.
Of course, my post was not exactly what they were looking for. It appears that they really, really want to know how to write a snore ... as in a novel or short story ... how would they write the "sound" of a snore.
Since my method of writing a snore is not in the alphabet, I don't suppose my post was helpful.
(She said with a giggle.)
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I'm dealing with illness and so I found this scripture on a friend's blog to be particularly meaningful to me today.2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The verse is a reminder of several things. First, our outer man is decaying. In other words our physical life is one that progresses eventually to its end. It is good to look at that...to recognize that our physical body is, after all, mortal. I think I first recognized that when my own father died at 86 years old. He lived a long and fruitful life. But his death caused me at the age of 40 years old to recognize that I, too, am subject to death. I knew, of course, that all die. But in youth we think "old people" die and it will be "forever" before we, too, become old. At a certain point in life, however, we begin to see that "old" will come to us as well.
It was some time later at the funeral of a young marine that I looked at this again. This time we were driving through the cemetery to meet with family at the grave site. As we drove past the lines and lines of tombstones, I thought to myself that someday there would be a headstone with my name on it. It was a startling and not too comfortable revelation.
In all of this I have recognized that God is the one who provides for us through every aspect of our daily lives and I can say with a great deal of thankfulness that God has blessed me thoroughly all the days of my life. I could name some of those blessings ... a good and Godly husband, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. Family. In addition I've recognized that God has blessed me with living in a land where opportunity abounds. Why me? And why the suffering of countless others in the world? I do not know. I only know that here I am. I am blessed.
Even my illness is a blessing for it has caused me to dig deep into my relationship with God and to seek His face in prayer and in Scripture.
And so it is, that this verse in Corinthians blesses me for it is a reminder that our lives are more than physical and mortal and temporary. We belong to Christ and as such we see this "momentary, light affliction" as being to our benefit. We look to eternal things and not to temporary earthly things for our consolation. We look to Christ and the hope laid out in the gospel.
Monday, March 9, 2009
We usually begin a fresh compost pile in the spring and another in the fall. During the spring and summer we toss on a shovelful of earth now and then, just to cover the debris and get the stuff to composting. We've never added special starters. Things seem to mellow out on their own.
In the winter months the ground is frozen so its impossible to add any earth to the veggies. So the pile tends to grow in its naked vegetableness (or is it vegetable nakedness?) throughout the winter. In the spring we'll add some dirt and all will eventually compost down to some really nice compost to add to the garden.
Where am I going with this? About a month ago I tossed some apples that had really gone past their edible prime. And the past three mornings I've enjoyed watching robins feasting on apples. I'm green. That is, the robins and we are green.
- When a lady doesn't get her order at McD's, why is her stupid 911 call a matter of national news!? Is there absolutely no other news out there that will fill this little slot of time?
- Who cares that some blonde ditz of famous face and name stubbed her toe (I made this one up but it illustrates my point).
- And speaking of famous faces of the female kind I longingly wonder when we will get over this fashion infatuation with that artificial look procured by lip plumpers. Read my post about that here.
- When will parents of young children realize that certain dog breeds are potentially dangerous around infants and toddlers? How many more children have to die because Mom placed Baby in a room alone with said dog?
- And why, someone please tell me why, the anchorMAN is clothed in suit, tie and cuffs while the anchorWOMAN evidently has a clause in her contract REQUIRING her to wear a short, short dress with a slit in the side seam up to her hip? And there must be a subclause that requires her to sit with her legs crossed and her feet tucked under so that she appears, oh, yes, indeedy, she appears to be ladylike. Is this skin show a deliberate part of the show? Is it because the network is afraid we won't hang around if we don't see a little skin?
Friday, March 6, 2009
I received an email from a friend today. One of those "forward" messages with lyrical words and photos. The topic answered the question of how can there be a God in such a world of pain? It was a simple and sentimental message, yet one that would be shrugged off by non-Christians as being too superficial, too foolish, too "without evidence", so to speak.
But as believers we do have evidence. We have the written words of men who walked with Jesus over a period of three years. Men who were careful to write down what they saw and heard ... the teachings, the miracles of healing, the raising of the dead. Men who, after Jesus was crucified on the cross, went into locked hiding out of confusion and fear. Men who then saw the resurrected Christ over a period of 40 days before He ascended into heaven before their very eyes. There were over 500 witnesses to the resurrected Christ. (Acts 1:3, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
And we have the words of Paul, who virulently worked to destroy the followers of Christ until he himself was confronted by the risen Christ on the road to Damascus and who became a follower of Christ himself.
These men, the early leaders of the Christian church, were not rewarded for their efforts with fancy cars, opulent homes, nor fame, nor even good health and carefree lives. No, indeed! They were instead confronted with hardship, jail, beatings, stonings. Most were martyred and died horrible deaths! They were persecuted for teaching that Jesus was God from before the beginning of time (John 1:1-5; John 1:14), that His death paid for our sins, that those who believed in Him would have eternal life.
Down through the centuries you will see the same thing ... faithful believers suffering. It is not enough that we might be confused by the question of pain and suffering in this world! There is war everywhere! There is child abuse everywhere! Mankind killing mankind in one way or another. Continuously! Continuously! And it is accurate to say that believers themselves are not immune to the illness, pain and death that this world brings.
How can there be a God in the midst of all of this death and destruction?
My answer is not deeply theological. It would take far more than this simple post to tell you all. But I can say this. Pain and death are part of this fallen world, thanks to Adam's first sin. We're all born into Adam's sin and his death. (Genesis 3:1-19) We live in a world broken by Adam's sin. Death entered into the world and the author of death, the devil, still prowls. (1 Peter 5:8). And he still attacks and devours.
The promise of God is this ... that God himself provided the payment for our sin in the death of Christ. And He promises that those who believe have eternal life. Right now. It begins right now when you first believe! (John 5:24)
I've mentioned the word "imputation" before. When Adam sinned and the world fell into destruction and decay, we fell with him. His sin was imputed to us. We are born as sinful creatures. We are sinners; therefore we sin.
Imputation continues at the cross. At the cross, our sin and death were imputed or put on Him. And His life and righteousness were imputed or put on us, on those of us who believe and are His. When we stand before the judgment seat, we will stand as clothed in His imputed righteousness. Not our own impossibly flawed righteousness, but the perfect righteousness of Christ. Our own flimsy "good works" will never be sufficient to undo our sin. Instead, Christ gives us His perfect righteousness. God sees us "as clean" because we are covered by the righteousness of Christ! Through faith. And it is God who gives us the faith for we cannot produce it of ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Therefore, even in the midst of sickness, illness, tragedy, death, we live in Hope! And our hope is expressed in these verses in I Corinthians 15:51-58 that speak of the resurrection when Christ returns ...
51Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
55"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?" 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
And again in Revelation chapter 21 wherein the ascended Christ speaks these words to the disciple John ...
1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
5He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
6He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
The promise is there. No more death. No more dying. No more pain. All things will be made new and Sin will be no more. Nor will the devil rule in the hearts of men. 1 John 3:8 says that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. And while we do not presently see the devil and his works done away with, the promise is that there will be a time when the devil no longer holds power over men. Sin will be no more!
I take great comfort in that. When one is young, life is busy and good (hopefully) and there are things to do, enjoy, love, live. (And God expects us to rejoice in Life!) Young people don't always see the full extent of the death and destruction of this world. But when you get older, it all becomes so real and almost overwhelming. So much death. Everywhere. Such hopelessness. Our souls groan with it. Except that God promises us life with Him and it will be eternal/forever life in a world free from sin and its destruction.
Thanks be to God!
Thursday, March 5, 2009
My strength is coming back more day by day. And today was a good day in the kitchen.
We have a quantity of garlic from last year's garden and so I says to myself, "Why not roast some! I bet I could roast some in the microwave!" And, so, thanks to google, I found this site with very simple instructions to roast garlic. I didn't want to roast 4 or 5 garlic heads ... just one. To see if I really like the stuff!
I was surprised to find the roast garlic buds quite tasty. Sweet, if you please. And since garlic is supposed to enhance the immune system, I think I'll eat this often.
The procedure was quite simple. Peel off the outer papery husk. With a paring knife, trim the tip of the head (the tip of each clove). Brush with a teaspoon or so of olive oil. Place top down on paper towel in the microwave and zap approximately 1 minute. Turn the garlic right side up, and zap another minute. Let cool.
The cooked garlic is soft and can be mashed and spread on toast. Or simply pop a clove into your mouth and enjoy its sweetness.
And then, not content with this small accomplishment I put together a yummy soup chock full of veggies and a bit of chicken.
Look at the last photo. I think they should invent "scratch and sniff" for the internet, don't you?
It was a good day in the kitchen.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Some of those things I HAVE used...such as the like-new ten-cent skirt! It was two sizes two small for me, but the fabric was a lovely deep indigo with a vine running across it. I took that skirt apart and made a lovely sofa pillow.
And I have several glass ornaments that I'll hang on the deck this summer. The sun will stream through the glass in a joyful way.
And the pyrex dishes that I collect ... they make excellent storage for leftovers in the fridge and if I place the lids upside down, I can stack three in one spot. A real space saver!
In the meantime...I recognize that many of the things in my closet will sit or hang there forever. So in spite of how pretty they are or how potentially useful, I will begin boxing them up, a few at a time, and take them to Goodwill or Gospel Mission. They will be someone else's "find of the day". I need to downsize.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
The simple truth is this...we can do nothing of ourselves to be "born again" or given "spiritual life". Read Scott's notes from today's sermon at Morningside Baptist Church. Check the additional scriptures carefully, and read thoughtfully for this is an excellent teaching on being "born again".