Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent Reading

In the fall I started reading The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Winter, by Phyllis Tickle. This book lays out an ancient pattern of prayer in an easy format. It has been beneficial to me, and I plan to read the Spring and Summer books too.

For the Advent Season I am adding several books to my devotional time:
Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas (collection of readings by a wide variety of inspirational authors)

A Handful of Light, by Michael Mitton (this year's Advent devotional from the Bible Reading Fellowship)

Sacred Space: The Prayerbook 2009 (the print version of an Irish online prayer guide: )

And as usual, I'm reading the book of Psalms.

Ten O'Clock Scholar offers suggestions for Family Advent Reading, as well as an Advent Mr. Linky, here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sweet Mustard Mango Chicken

2 tbsp agave nectar (or honey)
2 tbsp mustard (I used dijon, stoneground would be better)
2 tbsp mango & sweet chili dressing

Mix these ingredients in a big ziploc bag.
Add two chicken breasts.

Remove chicken from ziploc, place in a baking dish. Bake at 375 for 25 - 30 min.

If you make this with a different flavor dressing, let me know! I'd love to read fun variations.

Monday, November 24, 2008

soup for a sick day

I really wanted homemade soup today but I was extremely tired due to losing an hour of sleep cleaning up Rose's bed after she threw up at 2 a.m. I didn't feel very good myself this morning, so when lunchtime I didn't have a lot of energy for food preparation.

I've been buying Imagine organic vegetable broth at Fresh and Easy, so I thought I'd try a simple veggie soup. I diced one celery stalk, one red potato, and 3 cloves of garlic. I browned them just a little bit in olive oil, then added vegetable broth to more than cover the veggies. I also added two dried mushrooms, chopped in big chunks. After this came to a boil, I let it reduce while I thought about lunch for the kids. By the time the potato was cooked, the broth had reduced to a very tasty soup. I added a few spices--garam masala and tumeric and salt.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

vomit and Kmart

Yesterday my four year old Rose said her tummy hurt but she was running around, eating normally, and I began to think "my tummy hurts" was an attention getting device. So we planned to go to church as usual, and we stopped at KMart on the way. Suddenly in the check out line she said "Oh, I just want to sit down! My tummy HURTS! I'm going to throw up!" And she did, all over the end of the checkstand. The cashier stared at us. I asked for paper towels but he did not respond. Another customer brought me two paper towels. Still the cashier just stood there. And he asked "Is she sick or something?" (What should I have said? "No, she's allergic to unhelpful cashiers"?)

Two paper towels were not enough to wipe off Rose's church dress, and I tried to use plastic bags to clean up both my daughter and the checkstand. The cashier rang up the next customer and said "Don't worry, I won't get your stuff in THAT," glancing at the vomit and glaring at me.

I realize it's not a fun experience to have vomit on your checkstand, but I've worked retail. It's part of life. The stores I worked in had maintenace employees or courtesy clerks who had to come running with paper towels and cleaning products to take care of this sort of thing. I used to be one of those courtesy clerks. Glaring at customers was not part of the cleanup process.

Friday, November 21, 2008

dinner out

Last night my husband and I went to a restaurant that we can't afford very often. It is an environment where we always feel special, and the tone of the restaurant has always been pleasant and cultured. Last night the food was fabulous as always, but at the next table were five very loud uncultured men. One especially annoying man kept boasting about business deals and from the way they were ordering drinks and multiple appetizers, he was planning on spending quite a lot that night. He also admired a woman he could see sitting at the bar. He asked the waiter to find out what the woman was drinking, order another drink, and tell her it was waiting for his table! After several messages sent via the waiter, it seemed the woman was a sensible intelligent person who was going to stay far away from the raucous individuals at the next table, but eventually she walked past on her way to the restroom, then came back and sat at their table! Four of the men suddenly had to go have a smoke, leaving the boasting millionaire alone with the woman who I was no longer considering an intelligent sensible person.

My husband and I tried to consider the next table as a vaguely amusing glimpse of an unfamiliar culture, but it was annoying to have this going on during what we'd thought would be a quiet dinner. We did overhear a waiter asking them to tone it down a little for the sake of the other patrons. We didn't complain, it didn't seem very couth to pick up our plates and move across the restaurant in the middle of dinner, so we stayed put.

But when our bill arrived... it was brought by the manager rather than the waiter, and he said, "we're going to take care of your check tonight. We apologize for the next table--they get a little out of hand sometimes, and it may have detracted from your dining experience." The bill folder was empty. He also gave us his business card and asked us to call if we had any concerns.

Wow. If we hadn't already been very loyal fans of this restaurant, we would be now!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

are your kids learning phonics?

Check out the great sale on phonics magnets at !

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"I'm a Christian"

I found this here, and I thought it was worth sharing:

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not shouting, "I've been saved!"
I'm whispering, "I get lost! That's why I chose this way"

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't speak with human pride
I'm confessing that I stumble-needing God to be my guide

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not trying to be strong
I'm professing that I'm weak and pray for strength to carry on

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not bragging of success
I'm admitting that I've failed and cannot ever pay the debt

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't think I know it all
I submit to my confusion asking humbly to be taught

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not claiming to be perfect
My flaws are far too visible but God believes I'm worth it

When I say, "I am a Christian," I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartache which is why I seek His name

When I say, "I am a Christian," I do not wish to judge
I have no authority--I only know I'm loved

Copyright 1988 Carol Wimmer

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pumpkin Soup

1 can pumpkin (29 oz.)
4 cups veg. broth
2 cups apple juice
1 Tbs candied ginger (or one inch fresh ginger and a teaspoon sugar)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp garam masala
several sprigs fresh sage, chopped

Put all the above ingredients in crock pot and turn it to high.

1 white onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, diced
2 cups raw butternut squash, diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced

Saute the above four ingredients in olive oil til the edges are just beginning to brown. Deglaze pan with white wine if desired. Place veggies and any liquids from the pan in the slow cooker.

Cook for four or five hours on high (or eight hours on low).

Serve with cream, parmesan, and pumpkin seeds to add to individual bowls.

Garam Masala is available from Penzey's Spices.

Monday, November 10, 2008

REMEMBER: thoughts on the Lord's Supper

Our five senses bring memories to mind.
Seeing my four year old sleeping reminds me of her baby days.
When I hear the theme song of my favorite British sitcom, I think of our Saturday night after-church ritual--a late dinner and PBS.
Smelling sage and cornbread recalls my husband cooking Thanksgiving dinner in all the different homes we've lived.
When my feet feel chilly that first cold desert day in late fall, I remember slipping out of dress shoes and nylons and into socks and slippers on cold Northwest Sundays.
Tasting lemon marmalade reminds me of the hearty breakfasts we ate in Ireland.

God created us, gave us our five senses, and He knew the power of the memories they carry. When Jesus left His disciples to return to His Father, He sent the Holy Spirit to be our invisible guide and companion. But He also gave us a visible, audible, fragrant, touchable, edible reminder of His sacrifice and His presence with us. (If you've ever taken communion in a quiet church that serves crunchy crackers for the bread, you know how audible this symbol is.) As we partake of the bread and the cup, we engage all of our senses, calling to mind Jesus' sacrifice.

The two elements of a remembrance supper take only a little preparation, but we do take a deliberate action. Whether we make the effort to attend a service at church or to gather in a home, it's a choice we make to remember our Savior.

God made a choice to remember us:
The writer of Psalm 8 marveled at this:
When I observe Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which You set in place,
what is man that You remember him, the son of man that You look after him? (Psalm 8:3-5)

God also made a choice to not remember something:
For I will be merciful to their wrongdoing, and I will never again remember their sins. (Hebrews 8:12)

We are called to remember the Lord's works—to bring to mind the ancient happenings that show His love and power:
I will remember the Lord's works; yes, I will remember Your ancient wonders. (Psa. 77:11)

We also remember the Lord's presence
...remember, I am with you always...(Matt. 28:20)

...the Lord's sacrifice
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes. (I Cor. 11:25-26)

and the Lord's identity:
They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God, their Redeemer. (Psalm 78:35)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

being a doormat

Today I am thinking about the character quality of humility, which I understand as having a correct view of your own identity and position. I remember hearing "humility doesn't mean being a doormat." Come to think of it, this "doormat" phrase comes up in discussions about submission and meekness too. I've heard over and over again that I don't have to be a doormat. it such a bad idea?

A doormat may be beautiful or practical, colorful or plain, seasonal or year-round. But when you think about it, a doormat's main function is to draw attention to the door. No one ever stays outside your home just looking at the doormat. No, the doormat is there to provide beauty and practicality and to say "Welcome, please come in". A doormat doesn't distract from the door, it just points the way and makes you feel welcome. Without a door, a doormat would be pointless.

I am the door.
If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture.
John 10:9
(I realize the metaphor is the spiritual life it is Jesus (the door) who removes the grime of the world when you enter. )