Tuesday, December 21, 2010
We know some people who are putting together a movie about Christian manhood, vengeance, and other themes. They hope to raise enough money to help with all the technical details before January 1. What is this movie? Jimmy Valiant: Scions of Danger. If you can spare even a dollar to give them, I'm sure they would appreciate it. Click here if you want to pledge your support.
Winter time is here, but in Texas there is hardly ever any snow. Soon "Christmas" will be here. Yet in our house there will be no gifts to wrap, no tree to decorate. Why? Well, for one, Jesus was not likely born in the winter. Then, the Bible says specifically to remember His death, though we are to remember His miraculous birth, as well. But most of all, I think my concern is the pagan origins of the holiday. Can something pagan be sanctified by Christians? Perhaps, but not if all the same elements are left in, such as Christmas trees and Santa Claus. The ties to the original meanings are too strong. Yet I struggle, because I like the look of twinkling lights and decorated trees, and in and of themselves I don't believe they are wrong. But on the same day as a pagan holiday first took place, and syncretized with Christian beliefs (first by Catholics, I think)....Can God be pleased with this? One may say the heart is the most important, and it is, but God always had His special ways of doing things, and was angry if it was not done in just the right way, and if holy was mixed with profane.
Anyway, for us, this holiday has always been off limits, and I think that is how it will stay for me. Let us rejoice daily that Jesus came, was born sinless, and died the spotless Lamb of God for sinful wretches!
In a similar vein, I have been thinking about books and movies such as The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings. There are supposed to be Christian elements to them, and I can see them at least in TCON and have enjoyed the movies in part, but there are also pagan elements mixed in (such as fawns and other half-man half-animal beings). Is God pleased with this, even if I seem to get something good out of it? I have justified it, but seeing the correlation to Christmas has jarred my thoughts here....Does that mean I'll never, ever watch the movies? Not necessarily. I'm still mulling that one over.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Here are the top answers for the last two polls....
How many books do you typically read in a year (take your best guess)?The second poll (multiple answers for each person allowed) was:
10-20 came out first with 5 votes (23%)
30-50 and 50-70 came out second with 3 votes each (14%)
20-30, 70-100, 200-250, and 300-350 are all tied for third place! (9%)
One person each voted for 1-5 and 125-150.
Do you think having a television is a good idea?
Yes - 2 people (8%)
No - 4 " (17%)
I'm still thinking about it. - 3 " (13%)
Not for kids under the age of 5 - 1 (4%)
Only if it is carefully monitored and limited. - 19 (82%)
Thanks for participating in my polls!
Friday, December 10, 2010
These are from the book Humility and How to Get It, by which I have been blessed. I've only just finished the first part (like a chapter, though there are only sections), and it was chock full of rich and encouraging thoughts!
Okay, on to the quotes:
'Let us contrast our love to God with His love to us. Dear brethren, we do love God, and we may well do so, since He is infinitely lovable. When the mind is once enlightened it sees everything that is lovable about God. He is so good, so gracious, so perfect that He commands our admiring affection. The spouse in the song, when she thought of her beloved, mentioned all manner of beauties, and then cried, "Yea, he is altogether lovely." It is natural, therefore, that one who sees God should love Him, But, now, think of God's love to us; is it not incomparably greater, since there was nothing lovely in us whatever, and yet He loved us? In us there is by nature nothing to attract the affection of a holy God, but quite the reverse; and yet He loved us. Herein, indeed, is love!' [p. 10]
'If you had to manage waterworks for the distribution of water all over this city, and there was a certain pipe into which you poured water, and none ever came out at the other end, do you know what you would do? You would take it out and say, "This does not suit my purpose: I want a pipe that will give out as well as receive." That is exactly what the Lord desires of us. Do not selfishly say, "I want to sit down and enjoy the love of God. I shall never say a word to anybody about Christ. I will never give a poor creature so much as a brass farthing; but I want to sit down and be solaced with the love of God." If you think thus, you are a pipe plugged up; you are of no use; you will have to be taken out of the system of the Church; for the system of love-supply for the world requires open pipes, through which love divine may freely flow. May the Lord clear you, and fill you, so that out of you there may continually flow rivers of living water. Amen.' [p. 15]
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
We went to the last day of the film festival a bit later than the other days, missing the first hour and a half. We watched Live to Forgive in the large auditorium in the Municipal building. This was an amazing true story of a man who forgives and meets with his step-dad after he murdered his mom. We didn't agree with all the theology, exactly, and I didn't like some of the loud, rocky music, but otherwise it was very interesting.
Next we went to the other building to see Dispatches from the Front: A Bold Advance, which tugged at my heart, as well. We missed the first few minutes of it. The writing and filming were beautiful...but even more so was the love shown to others in countries where the gospel had not yet been given. The Christian converts in these countries shone with their love and words about Christ. We should be praying for them...and learning from their examples.
We broke for lunch after that; all three of us went to the food court in the mall.
Then we went to R.C. Sproul, Jr.'s lecture, where Mrs. Morecraft and her daughter, Mercy, were to announce the winners of her writing contest. I saw the Verrets and Lauren Bleser there, and sat next to them. Lauren said she'd cheer really loud for me and embarrass me if I won. :) I said I'd be embarrassed if I had to go up and say anything. Mercy did some funny country acting (pretending to be "Cousin Bertha Jean"). Then all the names of the winners were called, starting from the youngest category. As the list grew, including some ties, I grew more hopeful that my name might be among them. But no. Three of our friends/church members had won something, but not me. I was disappointed. It is in God's providence, though, and I'm sure it will help to keep my easily puffed-up ego deflated. I'm still writing poetry, though. It will always be something I enjoy, whether anyone else thinks it's good or not.
Annie and I had been thinking of leaving after the announcement to go see something else, but we decided to stay, as it was already pretty far into the hour and we thought it might be an interesting lecture. It was called "Where is God in Your Movie?" We are not really interested in becoming film-makers, but it was a good lecture in many ways. I could apply it to my writing, and life in general. I wasn't sure if I agreed 100% with everything he said, but the gist of it was good.
After that, we stayed to hear Kevin Swanson lecture on "Humor in the Family." It was good--not so humorous as it was thought-provoking. Our humor needs to be "attacking" what is bad, and endearing us to what is good, not the other way around, as some humor is.
In the break from 5:30 (? - our lectures went late, but I'm not sure how late) to 7:30, we went with Lauren to the mall's food court again. Lauren's new friend, Cindy, was there alone, so she joined us, though she had already eaten. Annie and Andy didn't join us at the round table, so I sat with just Lauren and Cindy. (My siblings didn't mean to be rude.) We talked as we ate, and I listened much of the time. Lauren and Cindy were talking about their pasts and conversions. I chimed in after Cindy's testimony, "That's how I was." And I told a little more about it.
Then they launched into a discussion on daughters staying home, as in the book So Much More.
After that, Andrew and Annie came over. We still had some time left before the Closing Ceremonies, so we headed to the Starbucks in the mall we were in and all (I think) ordered Pumpkin Spice Lattes (Annie and I shared one.) As I was waiting in line, I told Cindy a little more of my background and my dad, how he had died of cancer yet stayed strong in the Lord to the end, and how this had been in some ways helpful to me.
We talked some more as we gave them a ride in our van over to the other building. We were now talking about the churches we attended.
We separated. We met Mr. and Mrs. Marcic there and sat with them, though Annie didn't come until later because she was an usher. The closing ceremonies started with some ads for sponsors, I believe, or prayer, and singing. Mrs. Morecraft had sung in the opening ceremonies, and now the Salters/Amy Salter Rutherford played and sang. George Sarris also did his second Biblical dramatization--Jonah was the first one the night before (?) and this time it was Naaman the leper. I really enjoy those, the enthusiasm and character he puts into it.
Finally, the finalists and winners were announced! Not surprisingly, The Runner from Ravenshead won the Audience Choice award. The grand prize winner was Agenda: Grinding America Down. I was happy for them, and touched by their God-honoring story of praying and fasting and by the man's humility.
After the ceremonies, I got to have my photo taken with the little girl who played The Runner from Ravenshead. She seems as sweet as she looks. :) I also got my picture taken with Cindy B., the one I talked with earlier. I am glad to have met her. She is really sweet.
The next day, we went to the convention center for church services. Saw the Verrets again. We sat with the Marcics during the service. The preacher was Mr. Scott Brown, and he did an excellent job, on blessings and curses from Deuteronomy.
After the service and saying some goodbyes to our dear friends the Verrets and the Marcics, we headed home. Shortly thereafter, we left for the Sarratts' house, where we had a scrumptious meal. There were many other families with us. Annie and I sat and talked much of the time with Shanna Strackbein, who is easy to talk with and very sweet. She asked me about my writing, and we talked about Dickens and other books and movies. The Strackbein sisters and Shorts were talking about driving, and their trust in God even after being in some wrecks and close calls was encouraging.
On Tuesday, we had the Deamers over, along with a friend of theirs from Pennsylvania, who is a piano tuner, and his niece, Courtney. Annie and I got along well with Courtney, who is a soft-spoken but personable young lady. We had a supper of pot roast, potatoes, carrots, and a tossed salad, with chocolate cake for dessert. I was doing my share of talking during the meal, since Mr. Deamer was asking me some questions. Not that I took up all the conversation, or anything, but I was talking more than I usually do, at least during meals.
After supper (and a bit before supper, too), their friend, Michael, worked on tuning our baby grand piano. He said it was long overdue for a tuning. (When he was finished, the piano sounded much better--it had been more out of tune than we had realized! He also fixed the squeak that the soft pedal would always make when you lift your foot off.)
Annie, Courtney, and I talked and drank peppermint/chamomile tea together. Again, Dickens was mentioned. Courtney has some things in common with me, like liking to write.
I'm so thankful to God for such godly and caring friends, more than I ever had before. And for the peace that passes all understanding. :) I've been reading over some of my old journals lately, and I can see how fearful, inward-focused, and aimless I was before. Praise God for His sanctifying work day by day!
Monday, November 8, 2010
The Old Living-room
by Melissa M.
Our living-room was large but old,
A hundred years or more, I'm told;
Across the carpet in the dark,
We'd rub fast to cause a spark.
On that same floor 'most every day
We'd kneel beside the couch to pray.
My father's deep, resounding words
Shed light on the verses we'd heard.
Dad taught there on the first of each week
As we gathered to hear him speak.
His voice was warm, impassioned, strong,
And our voices blended, too, in song.
They would set up a table on heavy wheels
And there we ate many agape meals.
Grandma brought pie or salad without fail,
We laughed and shared, discussed each detail.
My mom taught me phonics, the basics to read--
I sounded them out and followed her lead--
Read of spotted dogs and puffy cats;
Of little red hens wearing floppy straw hats!
My brothers chased, my sisters played,
My dad and mom and everyone prayed.
This was how our family began to bloom,
And it all happened in the old living-room.
Monday, November 1, 2010
We missed the first morning & afternoon of the film festival, since Andrew had to work and we had no way of getting there. But it was okay with us, since most of the films at that time we weren't too excited about, or could see them later when they repeated. Grace took us in for the opening ceremonies at 6:30.
We spotted the Marcic family there (friends of ours from FL), and we greeted them but sat in different places.
There were some trailers for the upcoming films, and then Mr. Botkin spoke on how to evaluate Hollywood films. It was really good. Much of it I'd known before, but some of it surprised me a little. They talked about the films Finding Nemo, One Night With the King, and Love's Unending Legacy, all of which I have seen and thought were fairly decent, though not perfect. My favorite of the three would probably be Finding Nemo for its animation quality and comedy--otherwise I know there are a few problems with the message or attitudes in it.
After that, the film Divided was shown. It was not part of the competition, but it was excellent. It showed the dangers of youth groups and how the idea is not found anywhere in Scripture. The film quality and style were great, keeping your interest all the way through.
After the film, the film-makers talked a bit about how and why they had made the film.
Dawned with cold air. We got to the Municipal Auditorium early, since Annie was to be working there as a volunteer. The doors were closed, so we waited around. Eventually, we left Annie there with the Manteufels and Andrew and I drove over to the convention center to see Sybil Ludington and Journey to Everest.
Andrew gave his thoughts on the film to one of the new Vision Forum interns, including the kind of guns used. The intern said he was very detailed and that it sounded like Andy could be one of the judges. :)
The next film, Journey to Everest, was interesting--especially seeing the numerous awful gods and goddesses they worship in Nepal. Overall not my favorite film, though, because it didn't seem to explain much in the way of spiritual depth or purpose. There was some of that, but mostly just what I had seen in the trailer.
Andrew and I went to lunch by ourselves after that, getting some Asian food. We brought Annie an Italian wrap for her lunch, and I stayed with her a little while and talked with Mr. Manteufel as Andy went to park.
Then we saw Agenda: Grinding America Down. This...this was a powerful film, which we watched as we sat next to the Verret family. Andrew came in late, since he had had trouble with finding a place to park that would accept his money--I guess he didn't have enough change. During the film, next to me, Lacie was jotting down notes. After a while, I pulled my notebook out and joined her in so doing. I had just recently learned something about Communism and the KGB from some youtube videos Andy shared with us. They were actually very fascinating, though somewhat out of date. But the history was there, and I had basically known nothing about it before then. What I knew was vague and somewhat inaccurate--the exciting spy version. Communism seeks to deceive, and is hard on those that don't agree with the system. So, this film tied in with that, talking more about Karl Marx and his various ties to different American organizations. I believe this film is one of the most important and useful ones in the film festival. Not a fun film to watch, but one we need to watch and re-watch, as Lacie said. At the close of the film, I asked Laura and Lacie to sign my autograph book. They wrote a couple of sweet notes. They are two girls I love and look up to, though they are quite a bit younger than I am.
We went down to the vending tables, looking at books and DVDs. There were even a few books and things for free, which we picked up. While there, Lacie gave me an idea for an art project, which I am seriously considering following up on. Mom, Annie, and I discussed it and possible ideas for it this morning, too. Should I tell you all or keep it a secret? I guess I will keep it a secret for now; sorry! :)
We went back upstairs to see The Runner from Ravenshead, and we all enjoyed that very much. It is an allegory and comedy, using all little kids from one family for the cast! And they are great in their roles. The message is one that should touch you as well, even if the allegory wasn't perfect. The movie was definitely better than I thought it would be.
We met up with the Marcics after a while. We were thinking of watching some other films, but since we wanted to eat supper with the Marcics, they said we should get to doing that if we wanted to get back in time for Ace Wonder, which we did. So we started out for Casa Rio after a bit of deliberation. We had a nice supper--Annie and I got a sort of tropical salad, and the others got enchiladas and such. Only Mr. and Mrs. Marcic, Jonathan, Meghan, and baby Nathan ate with us. We talked about various things like our families, friends, and the films we'd watched. Mr. Marcic more than kindly paid for our meals.
Ace Wonder. Even in an unfinished stage, it was quite amazing. Very professional.
...To Be Continued
Sunday, October 31, 2010
I had a wonderful time there, and I want to tell about it in more detail tomorrow or sometime this week! I also had a wonderful time today at our friends' house, fellow-shipping with lovely people.
Blessings to you all in Christ Jesus!
Monday, October 25, 2010
So...I think I will have a "computer fast" this week, only getting on (after this) to check my e-mail once a day (if that), or do things that are necessary like checking for recipes. Maybe this will help me to get some important things done like cleaning the refrigerator, painting a picture for a friend, etc. Plus--most importantly--I hope I will be able to refocus on Christ and His Word.
Anyone is welcome to join me. :)
The only reason I am posting this is for accountability. If I don't tell others what I intend to do, then I would be more likely to welsh on my decision (sad but true).
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The subject of one of my new polls is television. I know several families who do not watch any television, and I admire them for their convictions.
In our family, we grew up with very limited television, and at one point my dad threw our set out.
But we have a television now, which don't spend a lot of time watching, and I think there is a way to guardedly watch television. I believe young children should not watch much if any television, as it may be a distraction and hindrance to work, growth, and intelligence. It may even be the same for adults if we are not careful. There are so many bad influences on TV, that it is necessary to keep a tight rein on it. Even the so-called decent, family movies and shows usually have their problems.
Is a television useless and bad, then? Some may say yes, but I say no, with caution. There are some good shows on helpful things such as cooking, gardening, and household projects. There are even some historical documentaries from which we can learn. But we have to keep our mind sharp, not taking everything we hear as fact, and helping our children to understand what is right or wrong. Then there are DVDs and movies, some of which are decent or even very helpful. You don't need a television for those, of course, as they can be played on a computer.
What of those awful ads? That is one of the wost problems, no doubt. But if you change the channel in between your show or watch only a couple of more conservative channels, it is possible to remain free of such influences.
There are bad influences all around us, from real life to online to on television. We should try our best to avoid the bad, and perhaps it is harder to do so with a television, but I am not convinced it is wrong to have one. I'm open to changing my mind on this, though.
How many siblings do you have?
0 - 4 people (5%)
1 - 15 people (21%)
2 - 16 people (22%)
3 - 13 people (18%)
4 - 6 people (8%)
5 - 3 people (4%)
6 - 2 people (2%)
7 - 3 people (4%)
8 - 4 people (5%)
9 - 0 people (0%)
10 - 1 people (1%)
11 - 1 people (1%)
12 - 0 people (0%)
13 - 0 people (0%)
14 - 0 people (0%)
15 or more - 2 people (2%)
I was pleasantly surprised to see 2 people had 15 or more siblings!
Time for two new polls, on books and television.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
The Centrality of the Home in Evangelism and Discipleship of the Next Generation, by Voddie Baucham. It's very good and to the point. It isn't the most comprehensive of all the issues, but it touched me, and I hope it will do the same for you, as well. It's what I've basically heard and believed before, but he speaks with such passion that it made me feel ashamed of my own halfheartedness. I know some in the youth groups who are very well-intentioned, and I do want to be careful not to ungraciously bash people who disagree with me, but...listen for yourself and see what you think.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread,
But he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding.
- Proverbs 12:11
The hand of the diligent will rule,
But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.
The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting,
But diligence is man's precious possession.
- Proverbs 12:27
The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing;
But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.
- Proverbs 13:4
The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns,
But the way of the upright is a highway.
- Proverbs 15:19
But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
- Hebrews 6:9-12
Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.
- George Washington Carver
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
There's fulfillment on this screen?
Friends, indeed, are fun to follow,
Blogs and photos to be seen.
But there's a world of difference
When we take a step back and forget
To remember checking facebook walls,
And simply stop and learn not to fret.
Useful tools can also be instruments of pain...
Though we think we know which is which,
We can blur the lines and think our loss is gain,
And sometimes our minds turn off the switch.
So much lies outside this invention...
Trees and birds and piano beaming,
Laughter, hugs, and intervention,
Passages sweet and full of meaning.
Even the mundane tasks once dreaded
Can become sweet and refreshing,
Bring us closer to where we're headed,
And to others be a blessing.
Let us not forget Who gives each hour,
Each hope and strength and love,
Each counter-top to scour--
Each gift is from above.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.
’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.
I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of ***
Assault my soul in every part.
Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.
Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.
These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”
Saturday, July 17, 2010
So there I sat 'neath our porch in the shade, my feet propped up on our little green stool, a glass of ice water on the table next to me, and the Bible on my lap.
All around me the birds were singing--various songs both short and long, mourning dove and cardinal. I could almost imagine myself in a rain forest, under a deep canopy of green. (There are some trees overhanging our back yard.) I spotted the cardinal, a perched dab of scarlet in the branches, warbling away. Yesterday I had been inside in Mom's room, and a blue jay had smashed against the large window. Then he'd sat, tilting his head to and fro, looking up at me as if to say, "Who are you, and why can't I come in?"
And now, here was a blue jay's feather among the pebbles. Feathers are amazing things, but that's another topic that could fill a book.
As I sat, looking about, I noticed the leaves, which had fallen across the walkway and amid the flowers. Why do people think of dead leaves as ugly things to be discarded? They almost looked like rose petals strewn there. Oh, yes, I know dead leaves are not meant to last, but for now I smiled at their random cacophony, with their various shades of green and brown and yellow. Is it summer or autumn?
And then I saw one little leaf spinning wildly on its stem, hanging from a branch. Soon to fall, no doubt, but hanging on and having a merry-go-round ride.
Yes, I eventually read my Bible, but it was a delight to pause for a few minutes and admire the handiwork of the Author of that Book. . . . I try to see with fresh eyes the beauty of it all, whether it be our same old back yard, or a rock cliff at a National park. Jehovah made everything, and made it well.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
What was this event that brought about these results, by God's grace? The Baby Conference, which was held in San Antonio. Learn more about it here.
There were testimonies of God's amazing grace, there were friends, there was for me a new experience of volunteering, helping usher people in. I don't know that I did it well, but it was helpful to me.
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” - Genesis 1:28
I believe this command (similarly repeated in the Bible several times) applies today. As my brother pointed out, the earth is far from full, yet.
There's more I could say about this, but I don't believe it's my jurisdiction to teach on such things, especially publicly, nor would I do as good a job as the people of Vision Forum. So...please check out the site I linked to, and if you're able, buy the audio (or here for mp3)! I'm sure you will be blessed!
Friday, July 2, 2010
My brother, Joel, his wife, Charity, and her sisters Harmony and Autumn got to spend the weekend with us a couple weeks ago, and I'm still missing their vibrant company.
We did quite a bit of talking about subjects both deep and light, looked at old photos, sang and played the piano, ate at Macaroni Grill and colored most of the paper tablecloth (I wouldn't have thought of that, but it was fun), went to a bass pro store (Outdoor World), watched a movie, had fun with nieces and nephew, visited the Alamo and Riverwalk, and enjoyed church and fellowship.
Here are a few photos from their visit.
Monday, June 28, 2010
...a cheesecake and tart contest...
...and archery! (My brother, Andrew--seen here shooting --won the competition.)
But it wasn't all just fun and games. Mr. Phillips gave a talk on the history of the trebuchet and later on chivalry, which we didn't get to hear all of, as it was pretty late and we needed to get home. I enjoyed the fellowship of saints, talking of various things.
Note: I used maybe a third of home-ground white wheat flour in mine. I also added chopped pecans and walnuts--you can't have banana bread without nuts! ;)
Recipe from Amanda & Friends
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups mashed overripe bananas (the darker the better, practically)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (for mini loafs)
1/4 to 1/2 cup heath chips (for mini loafs)
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs,mashed bananas, and vanilla until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake at 350 in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes for mini loafs (50-60 for regular size pan), until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then place on a wire rack.
Tropical Apple Muffins with Cinnamon Honey Butter
Recipe from Del Sisters Kitchen.
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla or cinnamon extract
2 c. whole wheat flour ( I used 1/3 white and 2/3 wheat)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 c. chopped apple (I used a bit more than this, since it looked sparse)
1/4 c. macadamia nuts (I used chopped walnuts and slivered almonds)
1/4 c. coconut
1/4-1/3 c. butter softened a little
1 T. honey
1/4-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Mix these together and serve on split muffins!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
"Sin is covered." Every man that must be happy, must have something to hide and cover his sins from God's eyes; and nothing in the world can do it, but Christ and his righteousness, typified in the ark of the covenant, whose cover was of gold, and called a propitiatory, that as it covered the tables that were within the ark, so God covers our sins against those tables. So the cloud covering the Israelites in the wilderness, signified God's covering us from the danger of our sins. -- Thomas Taylor's "David's Learning: or the Way to True Happinesse," 1617.
I had never really made that connection of the ark and covering before, so I really liked this quote. It's amazing how many details there are that we can easily miss. I had been wondering why the top of the ark was called the mercy seat, and I guess this is why. Praise God for His grace! :)
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
He must increase, but I must decrease. - John 3:30
So, here's my testimony, and may God bless you through it in some way. (This is not so much about my personality, perhaps, and it wasn't what I started out to write, but here it is.)
I'm very shy, quiet, and lack knowledge in many areas. My growing up years were ones of self and pride, and still are in many ways. I played piano not to bless others, but to please myself and to gain compliments. I sometimes felt left out of things, or not connected enough with others due to my shyness and all. Fear was a big part of my life. Fear of failing, fear of looking stupid, fear of man. When I was thirteen, I felt so lonely and desperate, that I decided I wanted to serve God. Or thought I did. What I really wanted was friendship with people at church and a closer relationship with my saved family members. But I didn't really want to be conformed into the image of Christ. No. That would be too hard. Perhaps in my heart I knew my profession of faith was false, but most of the time I convinced myself it was true (perhaps Satan also blinded me into thinking it was true). So I was baptized, forced myself to play piano in church every week, etc. But the joy wasn't there. Even the friends I thought I would gain weren't there, because I wasn't reaching out to them, and I was still the same selfish, timid person, repulsing the very friendship I craved. Also I was lazy. And when anyone mentioned the end times, Christ coming in the clouds, or dying, my heart would start racing in fear. This started me wondering. Reading the Left Behind series had the same effect, like a huge black cloud had come over me, and trembling and tears probably went with it. Am I really ready?
Three or four years had gone by, and the doubts plagued me like a swarm of locusts. I kept it to myself for the most part.
My unsaved sister would ask me questions, which I should have been able to answer simply enough, but they took me off guard and I found that the "right" answer was not how I felt. She asked me if I knew I was going to heaven when I died, if it felt sure. I hesitated. I probably stammered a few words of uncertainty.
"Why don't you just admit you're not saved," she said quietly.
That took me off guard. Why had she said that? She must have seen my uncertainty in all the answers I ever gave her. Why not, indeed? My will crumbled into defeat, my deception into honesty. I told my family I didn't think I was saved. They argued and encouraged, but I knew it was hopeless.
I was free to be myself again . . . though it wasn't much different. Free to wallow in my sin and fear. In some ways I was relieved, but in some ways I was sad. My life drifted without purpose except to please myself and be respectable enough that I wasn't in trouble. I hid things from my family, guilty conscience notwithstanding. I even questioned the authenticity of the Bible. Throughout this, I still thought I wasn't doing so bad. I made excuses.
In September of 2006, my dad died after a battle with cancer. His faith was steadfast in Christ to the end, throughout all his anguish.
A couple months later my brother and I traveled to some friends' house for Thanksgiving, around 2005. We had never even met all of them in person, but knew them from online. They were so kind to open their home to us and treat us like family. They were unpretentious and stood for their convictions regardless of what we thought. The women wore head coverings all the time. One evening, my brother Joel and Charity (our friend and Joel's future wife) asked me about how I was doing. How I was really doing, or what I was thinking. Something along these lines. I forget what I said, but it got them concerned, and Charity clasped my hand and prayed.
We went upstairs to talk some more, and they showed me some Bible passages that they thought might help. They only made me feel worse, and inspired no change at that time. They asked if I'd like to be alone. I said yes, and went into a nearby room, crying it out, not sure what I wanted or if I could have a change. Could I stand for convictions, like they did, and perhaps be thought a freak by others? How could I? My heart didn't want to submit. But I feared God's wrath. So I kept sobbing and asking . . . yet not really asking. My mouth said the words, but my heart didn't. Or maybe they did in some way, but it wasn't a full desire to change or submit, only a wish for some pardon sometime. In any case, all my tears and prayers were not enough to save me. Only God's changing grace and cleansing blood could do that.
I think I was in the room for over an hour or two, until the room was pitch dark. I gave up. I stumbled out into the other room, where Joel and Charity still sat prayerfully, Bible spread between them. They looked up questioningly.
I might have mumbled something about there being no change.
Charity, knowing I didn't want to go downstairs and eat while I was in such a bedraggled condition, went to get me some food.
In all my crying out to God, perhaps I thought there must be some change, but I was like a baby kicking against the womb, unable to come out on my own, and yes . . . unwilling.
In 2006, my dad died after a battle with cancer. His faith was steadfast in Christ to the end, throughout all his anguish.
About a year later, I was watching a video online. It was linked from a friend's blog. It wasn't a perfect video, but it was about revivals in history, called Revival Hymn, and there was something about it that God used. The outright sorrow of the people in the film captured me, their abandonment of self and zeal for a new life. Perhaps the Bible verses quoted were an arrow to my heart by the Holy Spirit. I was struck by my sin and need of God, and I wanted to have that love and peace, wanted to turn from my sin. I didn't feel a lightning-bolt change, but there was a new desire that I think came at this time. Because of my past false hope, this hope was left for a while, and I only told a friend or family member or two that I thought I might be saved, and wondered if I should get baptized. I believe one of them encouraged me to stand firm in the Lord. I know my mom was supportive, but she didn't push me to get baptized. She wanted me to be sure.
It was not long before I was convinced it was a true change, and that I wanted to be identified as Christ's. So I told our pastor of the good news, and requested to be baptized. Somehow I had worried that they might not believe I was truly saved now, like the boy crying "Wolf!" . . . But they received my testimony and joyfully celebrated with me for the second time . . . but really for the first time. It was perhaps exactly a year after my father's passing.
My life in Christ grows as I see His beauty more and more. At times I start to look more at the waves and tempest and my poor wobbly feet on the water than the Savior, and I start to sink in doubt, but God pulls me back up again, just like He did for Peter.
My memory is nearly gone;
but I remember two things;
That I am a great sinner, and
that Christ is a great Saviour.
John Newton (1725-1807)
English minister and hymn writer
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Little House on the Prairie came in first with 9 votes! This is one of my very favorites, as well.
The Chronicles of Narnia came in second with 2 votes.
There's a three-way tie for third place. :) Ballantyne the Brave, Trixie Belden, and The Mandie Series (with 1 vote each).
Some of the other series are even better than some of these, in my opinion, so I'm sorry they didn't get any votes.
Other choices were:
The Black Stallion
The Henty Books
Anne of Green Gables
Scout (by Piet Prins)
The Peabody Series (by Jerri Massi)
The Bracken Trilogy (by Jerri Massi)
The Ivan Series by Myrna Grant
The Sugar Creek Gang
The poll for this month is now up.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Now, you don't need to do the tagging thing if you don't want to, but I DO want you to know that I greatly appreciate your blogs!
"The rules to the award are: link to the person who nominated me for this award; share seven interesting things about myself; and nominate seven other beautiful bloggers."
Seven interesting (?) things about me:
1. I am the youngest in my family.
2. I sound a lot like my sister & mom (especially on the phone), but I'm quieter.
3. I would rather spend time with a few friends than a big group of them.
4. I would like to write a fictionalized account of one of my ancestors' lives.
5. I like to take walks with my family.
6. I'm one of the shyest person you've ever met or would meet (working on becoming less so).
7. I have three sisters-in-law (so far).
I'm passing this award on to:
Jennifer @ Blessed Femina
Jasmine @ Joyfully at Home
Esther @ Unknown Artist
Mia @ Aspiring Homemaker
Chantel @ Life, Laughter, and the Little Things
Caroline @ Standing in the Sunlight
Laura @ Actually Laura
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
From The Mother's Part
'Let it be remembered that Christ's work in the home is the first that he gives to every wife, and that no amount of consecrated activities in other spheres will atone in this world or the next for neglect or failure there.'
'A woman whose heart is not touched by the sickness of sorrow and whose hands do not go out in relief where it is in her power to help, lacks one of the elements which make the glory of womanhood.'
From The Parents' Part:
'No father can afford to let his children grow up without weaving himself into the memories of their golden youth.'
'Oh that God would give every mother a vision of the glory and splendor of the work that is given to her when a babe is placed in her bosom to be nursed and trained! Could she have but one glimpse into the future of that life as it reaches on into eternity; could she look into its soul to see its possibilities; could she be made to understand her own personal responsibility for the training of this child, for the development of its life, and for its destiny,--she would see that in all God's world there is no other work so noble and so worthy of her best powers, and she would commit to no other hands the sacred and holy trust given to her.'
'The parent's life flows into the child's life. We impress ourselves upon our children less by what we teach them than by what we are. Your child is a sensitive plate; you are sitting before the camera; if you do not like the picture the fault is with yourself.'
From The Children's Part
'If he then strews thorns for their feet, what does it avail that he brings flowers for their burial? If he dishonors them by disobedience, by unkindness, by unworthy conduct, by sin, what does it avail that he sets up the costly monuments over their graves, cutting in the white marble his praises of their virtues and their faithfulness?'
'Did his [Jesus'] subjection break his power, repress the glorious aspiration of his soul, stunt and hinder the development of his life and make his career into a failure in the end?'
'No one is fitted for ruling others who has not first learned in his place to obey.'
'We have only to remember again who Jesus was. Was there ever any human parent in this world who was really worthy or capable, in this sense, to be his teacher, to guide and control his life? Was there ever, in any home on earth, such a distance between parents and child as there was in that home at Nazareth? Yet this Son of God, with all his wisdom, his knowledge, his grandeur of character, did not hesitate to submit himself to the training of that peasant mother and that peasant father. Shall any other child, in view of this model child-life at home, assert that he is too far advanced, too much superior in knowledge and culture, too wise and intelligent, to submit to the parents God has given him? If Christ could be taught and trained by his lowly parents for his glorious mission, where is the true parent who is not worthy to be his own child's guide and teacher?'
From Brothers and Sisters:
'There is not so much happiness in the world that we can afford to leave our homes desert spots when they might be blossoming gardens. Certainly it is worth-while to think of the matter, for each of us honestly to inquire whether in our home there are not seeds of beautiful things that are yielding no beauty; whether there are not treasures hidden in our fleeting life which we have never yet discovered; whether we are not blindly passing by Heaven's richest gifts to us of friendship and tender affection lying within our own doors while we press out, quest into other fields and vainly seek for satisfaction.'
From The Home-Life
'One single fact clearly presented and firmly impressed is better than whole chapters of information poured out in a confused jargon on minds that cannot remember any part of it.'
'Human lives will never grow into their best in gloom. Pour the sunshine about them in youth; let them be happy; encourage all innocent joy; provide pleasant games for them; romp and play with them; be a child again among them. Then God's blessing will come upon your home, and your children will grow up sunny-hearted, gentle, affectionate, joyous themselves and joy-bearers to the world.'
From Religion in the Home:
'"My mind was ruled with small cares to-day,
And I said pettish words, and did not keep
Long-suffering patience well; and now how deep
My trouble for this sin! In vain I weep
For foolish words I never can unsay.
"Yet not in vain, oh surely not in vain!
This sorrow must compel me to take heed:
And surely I shall learn how much I need
Thy constant strength my own to supersede,
And all my thoughts to patience to constrain.
"Yes, I shall learn at last though I neglect
Day after day to seek my help from thee.
Oh, aid me, that I may always recollect
This gentle-heartedness and oh, correct
Whatever else of sin thou seest in me."'
'Another pleads timidity. He cannot make a prayer in his family. He would break down. But is timidity a sufficient plea to excuse one from a duty so solemn, on which such vital interests of time and eternity depend? We had better test all our actions as we go on through life by inquiring how they will look at the judgment-day or from amid their own consequences at the end.'
From Home Memories:
'No other work that God gives any of us to do is so important, so sacred, so far-reaching in its influence, so delicate and easily marred as our home-making. This is the work of all our life that is most divine. The carpenter works in wood, the mason works in stone, the smith works in iron, the artist works on canvas, but the home-maker works on immortal lives. The wood or the stone or the iron or the canvas may be marred, and it will not matter greatly in fifty years; but let a tender human soul be marred in its early training, and ages hence the effects will still be seen.'
Monday, May 3, 2010
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. - 1 Corinthians 10:31
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. - Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, - Colossians 3:23
As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. - 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12
God bless, friends!
Last month's poll was about travel. ("Do you think you will visit a foreign country in the next year or two?") I admit it wasn't a very useful question, but here are the answers.
The winning answer (4 votes) is: "I'd love to, but the prices are too high."
"Yes" comes in second (3 votes), and "No" comes in last with 1 vote.
If you have ideas for more poll questions, please let me know!
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
The winning answer, with 7 votes, is...
"I wouldn't do it any other way!"
A close second is:
"Yes, provided my spouse does."
And third, with 2 votes, is:
"Only for the earlier grades."
The winning answer, though a little tricky, is also the one I voted for. Yes, I'd definitely want my husband to be in agreement, but I would make sure before getting married that my husband would be totally on board for homeschooling. Why is homeschooling such a big thing for me? To do the subject justice it would take a lot longer reply than I can make now, but basically I think it is the most Biblical way and is helpful both for the children and the adults in various ways. I was homeschooled for all grades, and though it wasn't always easy, I'm sure it was very good for me.
A new poll is on the sidebar for the month of April!
Monday, March 15, 2010
One of the main themes on this DVD was "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?" - Tertullian
Though I have enjoyed watching super-hero movies, I wonder if they are really good to watch after watching this DVD....Half man, half god? That's what the pagan gods of Greece were, and what most super-heroes are, in essence, even if it doesn't call them "gods."
I'm reading this really good book called The Bible and the Closet: or, How we may read the Scriptures with the most spiritual profit by Thomas Watson and Samuel Lee. It was written in the 1800s, but is quite readable and useful.
Here are a couple of quotes to whet your appetite. (You can read the whole book on google books.)
"Christ loved us more than his own life; nay, though we had a hand in his death, yet that he should not leave us out of his will. This is a love that passeth knowledge; who can read this without seriousness?" - p. 22
"Pride is an enemy to profiting. It has been said that the ground on which a peacock sits is barren; that heart where pride sits is really barren." - p. 25
"The most eminent saints have been of low stature in their own eyes; like the sun at the zenith, they showed least when they were at their highest." - p. 25
Friday, March 5, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Here is the article.
This reminds me that no matter what time period, people have always rebelled against God's beautiful order of things.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
I believe you can still sign up, though it has already begun, and listen to the sessions after the fact.
Click here for more info and to register. Send the link to friends!