Saturday, June 4, 2011
at 3:53 AM
Monday, February 7, 2011
It's cloudy here today. Yesterday was a vibrant break in the long week of clouds we had before, but today the clouds are back again and the world looks gray and wintery.
I keep remembering what my dear friend Hannah Z. always says when I comment on cloudy weather: "But it's sun-shiney in our hearts!"
Or at least, it certainly ought to be. We have every reason in the world for sunshine.
Because He is risen. Just as He said. And I am His. And He is mine. That is more than I could ever begin to deserve.
But I have weakness still present in me. Today I was trying to catch up on my Bible plan and read Romans 7, which I was supposed to read several days ago...
But it's as if the Lord knew I would need it more today. Of course He would know. He kept it for me to read its truths NOW, when I need them most. After a sleepless night of struggling with a priceless babe who would. not. sleep. Have any of you ever been there? I suspected as much. You know what it is to have nights of weakly crawling into bed in exhaustion, trying hard not to make a peep lest the child awake, lying down and just drifting off to relieved sleep when...the screaming starts again.
Rising up to whisk her away to the nursing chair and away from the tired Working Man who needs to rise refreshed for a long day of bringing home the bacon...and I don't whisper how grateful I am to be blessed with a live baby - a baby who lives and squirms and can scream to prove it. For I know a family who in recent days had to leave a newborn at the hospital...a newborn who never took her first breath.
And all the long 9 months of pregnancy must seem, at the moment, as if they were for nothing, and what that mother wouldn't give to have a live baby screaming through the night - because it means she is breathing and her child never even knew what it was to breathe.
Why, then, do I weep wretched, thankless tears over my breathing child whose screams nearly pierce weary eardrums, and why do I weakly wonder if I'm crazy for wanting that large family I keep talking about?
Knowing full well that, come morning, I will feel the fool and will be right back to wanting that large family again. Because it's more than just a want: it is what I believe the Lord wants of me: after all, "be fruitful and multiply" is a hard command to fulfill if you only have enough to replace yourself and your husband when you are gone. And besides...I have already witnessed and know that, though it may be a duty to bring forth children, it is hardly a thankless one. One precious smile, one bubbling giggle, two little arms thrown about your neck, a little voice saying, "Mum-mum?" and I know, know, know that it is all worth it - more than worth it. It's joyous, it's beautiful, and I love being a mommy.
But in the dark of night, when my head aches and my eyes won't stay open and my jaw splits with yawning and my mind is so jumbled I am awake and yet dreaming at the same time...I am weak, and the weakness wins the moment. The weakness lets what's really inside show, just like the hot water brings out the true contents of the tea bag. I do not honor Christ with my attitude as I want to do. I do not joyfully scoop up the screaming child and whisper, "I am so blessed just to have your precious, living little body in my arms, and so blessed that you ARE nursing well and that your are gaining so much weight and that you are so pink and healthy and beautiful and God has been so good to me..."
No. I whisper, "What in the blue green earth is wrong with you?"
Ugliness. Words that would hurt if she could understand.
She doesn't know. She doesn't mean to make the night so long. She needs me because she is new and little and growing and scared and it takes so much work to get through being a newborn - and won't someone please just hold me close and love on me and make me feel secure and fill my empty tummy with sweet mother's milk?
And there I stand, weeping selfish over my own exhaustion, picking her up with hands that are anything but joyful, and I do not pick the Boppy pillow up gently - I do it with a jerk that doesn't in any way help the angst I feel within.
I was ugly. I was very, very ugly. And I knew I was being ugly at the time - knew I would regret it - but at the moment I was so caught up in my love of sleep that I completely forgot what I have learned before: if you get angry when you are deprived of something, that's a good indication that it's an idol to you.
What a fool I am. How much I have to learn. Romans 7 struck me right between the eyes today, which was exactly what I needed. "For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
Save me from the old man, Lord Jesus. How much I want to be like You and how often I am reminded of how very, very far I have to go.
How thankful I am that the Lord does not respond in kind to me when I, His child, cry out to Him in the dark of night and reach forth flailing arms, struggling, not even knowing what I need, just knowing that I am hungry and I need Him. He never begrudges me. He never chides me for needing Him. He just picks me up and fills my hungry soul with goodness from the pure milk of His Word.
May I be more like Him tonight when my child cries out for me. May I not forget to be thankful, for ingratitude leads to all manner of sin. May I not forget how unbelievably, richly blessed I am.
Now if you will just permit me to post my list of thankfulness - an exercise I much need to engage in today since I showed myself so forgetful last night - I will go scoop that little child up and spend some more time hugging on her. I've already done a lot of it today and I just can't seem to get enough.
24. Sleepless nights that drive me to the Cross
25. That tiny, soft little baby held close with a velvet head under my cheek and breathing warm sweet breath on my neck and little feet kicking and little arms flailing and fontanel throbbing with life.
26. That sweet little 15-month-old who lives up so beautifully to her name and fills our moments with joy.
27. The first precious, tentative, awkward and completely uninhibited giggles of a newborn.
28. Sitting in my chair, nursing Grace...and Felicity tottering over to sit by me on the nearby hearth, with her little baby doll clasped close to her as well...pointing in the wrong direction, admittedly, but she's on the right track.
29. Reading mystery stories out loud with my dear husband and sharing theories as to the outcome.
30. Warm cups of steaming, fragrant tea on a wintery-gray day.
31. The already life-changing "One Thousand Gifts" which I am managing to make my way through in my less-groggy moments.
32. The blessing of Sermonaudio.com and the many wonderful, godly speakers we can access there who we would otherwise rarely get to hear speak.
33. Sunday afternoon gathered by the piano singing hymns as a family - an the off-key humming of Felicity who desperately wants to join us but just isn't quite there yet. ;)
34. The endless mercy and grace of God, Who continues to teach me more and more about grace through the gift of our Grace, who grows more beautiful every day. Much like His grace does for me.
at 3:10 PM
Monday, January 31, 2011
at 9:02 AM
Thursday, January 27, 2011
at 11:22 AM
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I do apologize for my absence. Things are ridiculously busy here with new-house-remodeling plans needing finalization and old-house-packing starting to become an Urgent Thing. I am still learning this blogging thing. I should get on an post something every day. Even if it's not a full article. Even if it's not stunningly well thought out and beautifully crafted in prose that will warm the hearts of all who read it. Even if it's not the next installment of the courtship story (which has turned out to be in need of some editing - unfortunately, my Editor-in-Chief has been just a little too busy with remodeling plans, contractors, appliance decisions, and - oh, yeah - his job - and other things like playing with the adorable little girl that loves him so much...that he hasn't had lots of time left to go over his suggestions with me. We'll hopefully get it done soon, though. Hopefully.)
Have I mentioned that I'm a perfectionist?
I thought so. I keep finding those tendencies showing up with remarkable vibrancy as they relate to my blogging habits. Blogging has been good for me in many ways, and one of the biggest is that it shows me in Big Bold Letters just how much of a perfectionist I am. I hadn't really even realized it. So...I am working on it. The fact that I am sitting here writing a pointless post like this proves that I'm working on it.
But it's not really pointless. It's just being honest. I don't have stunningly good excuses as to why I haven't posted anything on my blog in days. Yes, we've been busy. But if I hadn't been a perfectionist, I would have sat down and put up something. A thought for the day. A quote from the devotional I have that's full of paragraph-long thoughts from John Calvin. Something to edify you. Something to make you laugh, maybe, like the "How To Write Good" post from a couple of years back. (Which, incidentally, is not by yours truly. I stole it from somewhere else.) Or even a photo of the day. After all, if I don't have time to write a thousand words, I can just post the proverbial picture instead.
Not that it takes me that long to get up to 1000 words if I just ramble long enough. Kind of like I'm doing now.
Since I don't have time to craft more of an organized post than this, I will leave you with a recommendation. If you have never heard of BBC's series: "Planet Earth" or "Life" I must urge you to look into them. Especially "Planet Earth." No, actually - especially "Life." Never mind. I can't choose one over the other. They're just that good.
They each present life on this amazing planet in such stunning beauty that it leaves the viewer astounded. The life stories of different kinds of animals - amazing facts about different creatures and plants, all done in the most beautiful videography I personally have ever seen. Jon and I have learned so much about God's amazing Creation by watching these DVDs. They are filled with fascinating, awe-inspiring inspiration that leaves us praising the Lord for the incredible richness and variety of His Creation. If you think you understand how varied and creative this Creation is, think again if you haven't seen these DVDs. There are so many creatures and plants out there that I had never even heard of - each of them doing what it was designed to do in some remarkably unique and creative way. Monkeys that use rocks to break open nuts that no one else can get into. Mountain goats who are born knowing how to scramble up sheer cliffs, leaving behind a hapless fox who thinks they'd make easy prey. The self-sacrificial love of an octopus for her young. The dedicated parenting of penguins - and not just the Emperor variety. The love of a mother whale for her young. The dances of the waterbirds. The multi-generational migrations of the Monarch butterfly. The trigger mechanism of a Venus flytrap.
The creativity is endless. Of course. Because it was all designed by an infinite God Who has given us only the smallest sampling of His endless creativity. But it's still enough to blow our finite minds away.
My caveats: the makers of the series are not coming from a Biblical worldview. They sneak in some evolutionary theory amidst the glory of the Creation, and for that reason I would recommend against letting young children watch it alone. Also, they present mating in a very matter-of-fact way - not very subtly at all. Sometimes it's not even close to subtle. I would recommend that parents preview episodes before showing them to younger children, if you are not ready for them to ask a host of Awkward Questions. There are some very disturbing scenes of hunter and hunted - they are presenting life as it really happens in the wild, and that does - thanks to sin - involve a good deal of bloodshed. I don't really enjoy watching lions rip into the flesh of a wildebeest, but that is how they have to stay alive. There is DVD in particular in "Planet Earth" - the "Jungle" episode - which has a particularly unpleasant scene involving chimpanzees cannibalizing each other. I had no idea they did that! Exercise caution when showing to younger viewers.
However, for those who are ready to handle the more graphic scenes involving the impact that sin has had on Creation, and who are ready to handle the presentations of reproduction, it's an extremely educational and edifying watch. Though not presented by Creationists, they can't help but use terms like "design" and "creation" simply because it is all so stunningly beautiful; so flawless; so perfectly choreographed. If you want a glimpse of the Master Designer like you have never seen before, please look into these two series. You will be awestruck and amazed by His Creation and marvel at His goodness in giving it to us. He is truly majestic and high beyond all that we can even begin to imagine. Though the makers of the series fail to give Him the glory, His handiwork speaks louder than anything they fail to say. It is clear as you watch: there IS a Master Creator.
And we not only get to know that He is...but He has told us who He is. We are beyond blessed. Watch and worship. His Creation declares His praise.
at 8:18 AM
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I'm finally posting the recipe that several of you requested! I didn't make up the recipe myself - it came from a magazine I just picked up at Whole Foods the other day. "Cuisine Tonight - For Two" is its name. Lots of yummy, healthy-looking recipes in there. The portions aren't nearly big enough for the two of us, though. I mean, I AM in my 2nd trimester and all. But that's easy enough to adjust. ;)
Without further ado - le recipe:
Marinated chicken with fresh herb olive oil
- 2 bone-in chicken breast halves, seasoned with salt and black pepper (about 8 oz. each) - (Note: I used boneless and it worked just fine. Easier to eat!)
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 grape or cherry tomatoes (I used many more than that. I'm a tomato lover.)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic (again, I used a lot more. But I'm a garlic loooooover.)
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary (it's very important to use fresh - makes all the difference.)
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage (again, it's better when it's fresh! If you don't want to use fresh, use only half as much of each herb - they're a lot more potent dried.)
- salt and black pepper to taste
~ Saute chicken, skin side down, in 2 tbsp oil in a large oven-proof skillet until golden, 4 minutes. Turn chicken over, saute 2 minutes more, then transfer pan to the oven. (This is a really cool technique - it gets nice and browned in the pan, and then it cooks all the way through without continuing to brown. Result: really tender, juicy chicken. I've got to remember this trick.)
~ Roast 15 minutes, then add tomatoes to the pan. Cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meat registers 165, about 5 minutes more. (Or you could take the non-technological route and just cut a little slit in the chicken so you can peek in and see if it's done. It's entirely up to you.)
~ Combine 1/4 cup oil, garlic, and herbs on a small serving platter, and season with sat and pepper. Transfer chicken and tomatoes to the platter and let rest 10 minutes before serving, flipping the chicken every few minutes to coat with oil and herbs.
Time for the side dish!
Roasted gold potatoes
- 3/4 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, cut into large chunks (I used sweet potatoes since they have some more nutritional value - and my hubby loves them.)
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and black pepper
~ Toss potatoes in a large bowl with oil, and season with salt and pepper
~ Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high, then add potatoes and residual oil.
~ Saute potatoes until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer skillet to the lowest rack of the oven and roast 20 minutes. Stir, then roast until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes longer. (With sweet potatoes, you might have to add an additional 10 minutes. Just keep checking them.)
If you're interested, here's a video showing how to chop fresh rosemary
And here's a video showing how to chop fresh sage. This video annoys me because it takes forever to show you anything. But it's the only one I could find. I used the technique that he shows first, because I think it looks prettier to have the longer strips of sage curling on top of your nicely browned chicken. But that's just me.
at 10:23 AM