Monday, June 28, 2010

Medieval Festival

Medieval festivals are quite unusual and fun. A couple weeks ago, some church friends hosted one. They did an awesome job, and we enjoyed it.



Me in my outfit--dress made by my oldest sister some years ago

Sweet friends in their lovely costumes

More sweet friends in lovely costumes

Most of the costumed attendees (some arrived later)

The food tent (quite obviously)

There was rope-climbing...

...a trebuchet!...

...a pinata...

...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.

Banana Bread and Muffin Recipes

I think this is the best banana bread I've ever made. Granted, I've only tried three or four different recipes, but still....Betty Crocker's banana bread is one we've used for years but I was never satisfied with it because it was rather dry and not too flavorful. Usually Betty Crocker Cookbook has good recipes, but not so much here. One of my friends (Jenny Leding) posted a banana bread recipe that was good, very similar to this one. But I think I like this one a tiny bit better. :) I haven't compared them side by side, though. Oh, and there was a recipe that our friends/family made that was scrumptious, but when we tried it, it didn't turn out quite as well. Anyway, this is good, and maybe even better with the white chocolate chips (I haven't tried it that way, but the place I got this recipe said it was delicious). Enjoy!

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! ;)

Banana Bread

Recipe from Amanda & Friends

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
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

Optional:

1/2 cup white chocolate chips (for mini loafs)
1/4 to 1/2 cup heath chips (for mini loafs)

Directions:

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 egg
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

In a bowl with a wire whisk, mix together the wet ingredients. Add the dry, then fold in the apple. Put batter into 9-12 greased muffin tins. Sprinkle with nuts and coconut. Bake at 375 for 20 min. Or till browned. Cool 10 min. then remove from pan. Serve with Cinnamon Honey Butter (opt).

Honey Butter

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

Based on Psalm 32:1, from Spurgeon's The Treasury of David...
"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

Born from Above

I got a couple of votes for showing more of my personality on my blog. I guess I'm afraid to show more of it because I have so many flaws/sins and don't want to be a bad example. But also...some of the reluctance to share about myself is due to vanity or pride. And if the Lord can be glorified through my weakness, then perhaps I should be more open.

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

Poll for June

The results from last month's poll:

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
Nancy Drew
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

Website

This looks like a great web-site for mothers and daughters!

Raising Homemakers


They're also having a giveaway right now, which is always nice.

Award

Thank you, Bluerose's Heart for giving me this award! I don't even know you, but I'm glad that you like my blog. I count it all of God's grace.
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