This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every moring: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3: 21-26

Friday, May 25, 2007

I Will Sing of My Redeemer

I will sing of my Redeemer,
And His wondrous love to me;
On the cruel cross He suffered,
From the curse to set me free.


Sing, oh sing, of my Redeemer,
With His blood, He purchased me.
On the cross, He sealed my pardon,
Paid the debt, and made me free.

I will tell the wondrous story,
How my lost estate to save,
In His boundless love and mercy,
He the ransom freely gave.


I will praise my dear Redeemer,
His triumphant power I’ll tell,
How the victory He giveth
Over sin, and death, and hell.


I will sing of my Redeemer,
And His heav’nly love to me;
He from death to life hath brought me,
Son of God with Him to be.


Words by Phillip P. Bliss
Music by James McGranahan

Galatians 3: 10-14

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”

11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”

12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),

14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Favorite Ingredients Friday--Seared Chicken with Squash Qesadilla

Seared Chicken With Squash Quesadilla
Serves 4
Found at Martha Stewart Recipes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1/2 butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 crushed red-pepper flakes
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons minced plus 1/4 teaspoon garlic
2 limes, one cut into 8 slices, one juiced
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced into rounds
8 ounces goat cheese
6 twelve-inch flour tortillas
2 fresh cilantro

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees;. Drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Place the squash pieces on top. Season with salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of red-pepper flakes. Roast in the oven until fork-tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool.

2. Meanwhile, prepare chicken: Season each breast with salt and pepper. Place 1/4 teaspoon garlic and 2 slices of lime under the tender of each breast. (The tender is the natural pocket on the underside of the breast.) In a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, melt butter and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Place chicken breasts in the skillet, tender side up. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon minced garlic, cumin, and half the lime juice to the pan. Cook until firm and golden brown, about 6 minutes per side; after the first 6 minutes, pour the remaining lime juice over the chicken, and turn chicken.

3. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook jalapeño slices for 4 minutes on each side. Remove, and set aside. Prepare the two quesadillas: Crumble 4 ounces goat cheese on 2 flour tortillas. Place about 10 cilantro leaves, 8 pieces roasted squash, and 4 jalapeño slices on each tortilla. Cover with another tortilla.

4. Reheat the skillet with 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook quesadilla until golden in color on the bottom, about 1 1/2 minutes. Slide quesadilla onto a dinner plate; turn over, and return quesadilla to the pan, uncooked side down. Cook until golden on the bottom. Remove from heat, and cut quesadilla into quarters with kitchen scissors or a knife. Repeat with the remaining quesadillas, adding more oil as necessary.

5. Serve one breast, cut in half, with 2 quesadilla quarters. Garnish with any leftover squash pieces and a few sprigs cilantro.

Favorite Ingredients Fridays is hosted by Overwhelmed With Joy. Visit her and the other ladies who participate for more favorite recipes.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Open Door – Entering the Sanctuary of Icons and Prayer

by Frederica Mathewes-Green
a book review

Hebrews 12:1-2
1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

“There’s an old sermon illustration about the little girl whose pastor asked her, “What is a saint?” She thought about the stained-glass windows in her church and said, “A saint is somebody whom the light shines through.” (exerpt p. 81)

Have you ever looked at an Eastern or Greek Orthodox icon and ever wondered what was going on? Why do the Orthodox venerate the icons? Is it idol worship?

Having spent a few months at and Eastern Orthodox Church I was curious about icons and iconography. Growing up Roman Catholic I was quite comfortable and familiar with statues of saints. I am familiar with paintings that would be classified as “religious” that I have seen either in a museum, at a church, in a book, or on the internet. I totally got that praying for a saint’s intercession was no different than asking for my friends’ intercessory prayers. But icons were still a bit mysterious.

Frederica Mathewes-Green is a favorite author of mine. Her conversational style draws me in and makes me feel like we are just chatting about our faith over tea or coffee. The simplicity of her words is deceiving. She speaks of complicated and holy things without building a barrier with knowledge.

The Open Door takes the reader to an imagined church and walks with the reader stopping at the icons found there, pausing to explain the history and significance of the particular icon. Included in the book are pictures of twelve icons, four color plates and eight black and white photos.

Mathewes-Green examines the techniques and styles used to create the icon. The various methods invoke a response from the viewer. We learn that icons are often referred to as “written” and not “painted.” She also shares that iconography does not speculate what God has not shown us in the Bible, something more common in Western, and especially contemporary art.

Mathewes-Green discusses what responses might be common for someone not familiar with asking for the intercession of saints and Mary or the Theotokos as she is referred to in Orthodox churches. She talks about the different Eastern cultures that Orthodoxy draws from versus what is expected and common in Protestant churches in the United States. With great care she conveys what importance an image can carry.

Icons were, and still are, a very effective way of telling a story. When the majority of the population was illiterate an icon would, with specific images, tell the story of the saint they portrayed. The stance of a subject, the direction and position of the hands, objects included or held, symbols present, all form the story the icons tell. It takes time to learn to read icons. I know I don’t have it all worked out yet. But this lovely little book is a beautiful and gently led tour of icons and how they bless the believers who look at them.

A beautiful exerpt of The Open Door can be found here. It is lovely.

I am substituting in The Open Door for my Spring Reading Thing. Of course I've gotten off track. I'm not surprised.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Works for Me Wednesdays--Vincas

I love flowers and I love gardening. But given my housing situation there isn't a lot of room for much. One side of the house is a postage stamp either in mostly shade, children and dog and the other is in direct sun-baked brick and concrete. Actually my "zone" says I should be able to grow most any annual. In theory. But I live in reality. Oh so stark reality.

The first year here, I attempt to make my 3'X4' concrete planter an adorably arranged flower box. I had various herbs and a variety of colorful blooms and all sorts of little doo-dads. It looked cute for the first three weeks and then the sun scorched the plants one day when I wasn't home to nurse them. So the next year I followed my neighbor's lead. She had planted vicas and had flowers into fall.

So the next year I over did it, with vincas. I had vincas out the ears. This year I bought four pots with four tiny plants each. A little left over mulch and I should have blooms in just about the right proportion.

Vincas look a lot like impatiens. They come in a variety of colors. They thrive in full sun with very little coddling. They were inexpensive at Wal-Mart. Can't beat it with a stick. Well you could...but you'd kill you flowers. Not as creative and not as much gardening as I would like. But healthy and easy to maintain...WORKS FOR ME!!

Visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer for more creative tips and tricks and all the Works for Me Wednesday ladies.

Just a note to let everyone know that during the week of June 4-8 I will be giving away 5 new books!! Check back then to see what books are being given away.

Wordless Wednesday


For more Wordless Wednesdays visit WWHG.

Time Travel Tuesday--Blog Beginning Edition

Time Travel Tuesday—first post & why I blog.

Annie is hosting Time Travel Tuesday again this week and we are re-visiting our first post and discussing why we blog. My first post:

I am a believer trying to sort out the issues of obedience, dying to self and loving others. I am trying to learn submission with confidence and what Scripture says and shows about parenting. I want to find joy in all things. I believe it is a truth the there is joy in all things and a mindset to allow yourself to see it. Joy is my goal for 2007. I want to trade my sorrows.

I am a wife to a good man who is my friend. We have hammered on things for fourteen years and are still working. We believe our only option is to make our marriage the best it can be. If anyone would want to know why I put up with his “things” the easy answer is that he has always put up with mine.

I am a mother to two young sons. They are blessings and smart, talented, and handsome. And if someone thinks I might be biased…well, YEAH!! We are eclectic homeschoolers. I sometimes use workbooks and sometimes unschool. Sometimes there are areas in between. We don’t fit a mold very well.

I write like I talk, lots of punctuation, intentional misspellings, and CAPS!!! You can’t see me waving my hands around or hear my voice so that is my attempt at internet body language.

I am conservative, traditional legalist, an open-minded, freedom loving liberal, housed in a libertarian body. I don’t like blanket statements or stereotypes, but I do believe that right is right and wrong is wrong. But I am not your Holy Spirit—and no one else is mine. So that is clear as mud.

I believe I use the word “I” too often and would like to see it uncapitalized. Like “you” and “he” and “she.” “i.” I think every Bible should capitalize every name of the Father, Son and Spirit and all referring pronouns.

Having something to say, but not necessarily having someone to say it to, having a running dialog in my head—kind of a life commentary, and the suggestion of a friend put the idea of a blog into my mind. The idea formed in January of 2006 and finally evolved here December 29, 2006.

I actually first attempted a blog sponsored by a homeschool forum and was not satisfied with the results for many reasons. Mainly I felt that there my posts should be strictly be related to homeschooling and I had more to say than just that.

I was under the impression that forum communication was more immediate than blogging, although not as fast as IMing, but I have been surprised how fast blog posts and comments fly across the web. The community feeling that I’ve found blogging has amazed and blessed me. The visibility of putting words on the internet has shocked me.

Initially I naively thought there would be total anonymity in blogging. I thought there would be more opportunity to work through some personal issues in a more open way. While my husband and sister are aware of my blog, they don’t read it. My former pastor is linked to my blog, but I don’t think he reads here. But there has been more constraint than I imagined. My DCG and I have agreed to boundaries in posting that we are both comfortable with, and a stat counter has allowed me to get an idea of who is looking at me.

Joy really was a goal when I began this blog. My IRL persona is more of an Eeyore than a Tigger or Pooh. I don’t know that I want to be as overwhelming as Tigger or as oblivious as Pooh, but the rain cloud was making life just a little damp. Having charged myself to find “joy in all things” publicly has given me a boost. It was the start of “intentional living” that has been on my mind a lot lately.

If you think I post a lot (and I do) you might find it interesting to know that I only post about one third of everything that I write for my blog. I have terrible “foot-in-mouth” disease and have learned that while I can delete a post, my instinct is that once something goes into the blogosphere it never truly can be taken back in. So I have a running file where I type things out in a Word document and chew on them for awhile. Awhile might be ten minutes or ten days or I might come back and say, “Good grief! What was I thinking??”

My goals for continued blogging include more about “intentional living” and more about my spiritual journey. There have been a lot of bonuses by blogging. The main one being the wonderful people who I’ve met that I would never have otherwise. To meet some of them, go visit Annie and the other Tuesday Time Travelers.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Watch the Words

Thoughts to Think About

A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.

A will is a dead giveaway.

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

A backward poet writes inverse.

In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count that votes.

A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.

If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.

When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.

A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.

You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.

Local Area Network in Australia: The LAN down under.

He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.

A calendar's days are numbered.

A lot of money is tainted: 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine.

A boiled egg is hard to beat.

He had a photographic memory, which was never developed.

A plateau is a high form of flattery.

The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison: a small medium at large.

Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.

If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.

When she saw her first strands of grey hair, she thought she'd dye.

Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.

Acupuncture: a jab well done.

Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet.

A pessimist's blood type is always b-negative.

Shotgun wedding: A case of wife or death.

A Freudian slip is when you say one thing and mean your mother.

A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

I used to work in a blanket factory, but it folded.

Corduroy pillows are making headlines.

Marriage is the mourning after the knot before.

Sea captains don't like crew cuts.

Is a book on voyeurism a peeping tome?

A successful diet is the triumph of mind over platter.

Without geometry, life is pointless.

Dreaming in color is a pigment of your imagination.

A gossip is someone with a great sense of rumor.

A man's home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.

Dijon vu -- the same mustard as before.

Reading while sunbathing makes you well red.

When egotists meet, it's an I for an I.

With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

Menu Plan Monday

I fell off the menu planning wagon and am making an attempt to climb back up again!

Between rehearsals and recitals and travel and yucky illnesses we were doing good just to eat something! Time to eat with a plan again.

Also I haven’t been eating as many salads as I was in when I was planning menus (I was eating a salad with almost every meal—kept me from eating a lot of other goodies) so hopefully my green leafy intake will increase also. One thing we have managed to do is switch back to turkey burger instead of ground beef or ground chuck, a little healthier and can we say 89 cents a pound??!

So here is my little plan:

Monday—Good ole Tacos—we haven’t had them for a while so this will be a treat for everyone. But made with turkey burger.
Tuesday—Turkey burgers on the grill, corn on the cob, tomatoes
Wednesday—Sam’s rotisserie chicken, again a favorite that we haven’t done in awhile, asparagus and potatoes.
Thursday—(late night, last one until fall—whoohoo!!!) I might ask my DCG if he would make us pancakes and sausages and eggs to come home to. They boys are always good with that. Add a little fruit and it is good sleepy food.
Friday—something on sale that can be grilled! ‘Tis the season and there is no reason not too. I will be getting some fresh bakery bread and whatever veggie looks good (and hopefully cheap).

Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie! Visit her and all the creative cooks for some great ideas.

Just a note to let everyone know that during the week of June 4-8 I will be giving away 5 new books!! Check back then to see what books are being given away.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Grains of Gratitude

Late again today. Recovering still from last week’s yicky-yuck. But now I really thing I feel the end of the upper respiratory stuff and let me tell you—I am grateful!!! Both boys have struggled with this too and while I would have preferred to spare them the stuff, at least Roo did not come down with it until after his spring recital. We are very grateful for that. He had two nights of dancing and lots of waiting back-stage. So he would have been more miserable than just feeling cruddy and lounging on the couch at home. Boo’s exploding through the house again, so I’m believing he’s pretty good.

We’re pretty sure it’s DCG’s turn next. I owe him big-time. Why??? Because he took care of me and the boys and the house and the cooking yesterday when I had a melt-down. I am grateful for a husband who cooks well—better than I do, a lot of times. And who will baby me and keep the house running. I am blessed.

I am grateful for flowers that I have to plant.

I am grateful that Roo’s spring performance was such a success. What an awesome way for the school to end the year. He has his last two classes this week. One is an in class performance—not a high stress thing, more of a demonstration and the, what I call “de-briefing” class for the boys. Then we have two weeks off.

Two weeks off. I. am. so. grateful. Really. No driving. And with gas prices what they are that is a good thing. Both boys will do summer intensives this year. Just four weeks. But a very neat opportunity.

The weather is beautiful. I am grateful. DCG put the canopy up on the back porch, adding another “room” to the living space. The pool will go up soon and it will be officially summer. Much to be grateful for.

What are you grateful for?

Grains of Gratitude was started by Christine at Brady’s Bunch. She has a blessing of sunshine blog.