Saturday, November 27, 2010

We Will Miss You, Buddy

 We had been praying for a dog, and then six and a half years ago you were given to us as a gift ~ an answered prayer ~ because the pet store didn't want a dog that kept eating rocks and needing to go to the vet ~ and the vet clinic worker couldn't handle taking on another puppy at the time.
 
 You were ten weeks old when you became a part of our family and you were instantly loved.  Kory would go out to the mud room and lie on the floor and let you crawl all over him and lick his face.  Cooper gave you lots of hugs, and Kayla gave you your name. She also tried her hardest to train you ~ but mostly in vain, because you were not the sharpest dog around. We loved you anyway, because you were ours.
 You loved the seasons. Many winter days we would find you completely sprawled out on the snow taking a nap. We even caught you sledding down our backyard hill one day after the kids had come in for hot chocolate and had left their sleds outside.  You put your front paws on the sled, rode it down, and then pulled the sled back up the hill with your mouth. So, maybe you were smarter than we thought.
 You were the star of our book about Celiac Disease, because right when we were discovering that Cooper was sick with Celiac, we also discovered that YOU could not tolerate eating wheat, and we had to change your food to a rice based formula.  Thank goodness we weren't getting up at all hours of the night anymore to let you out because of your troubled tummy.  Thank you for being the final inspiration to go ahead and write a book for kids on this subject.
 After you were hit and killed yesterday, Kayla, through tears, asked, "Why did God let Buddy get hit by that car?"  I reminded her just how many times you had crossed that busy road sneaking off to a grand adventure, and God did NOT let you get hit.  Cats are said to have nine lives, but Buddy, you had at least 25.  Among your adventures are several trips to the nursing home and grocery store just a block away, Dominoes pizza, and to many friendly townsfolks who caught you in their yards or downtown and called us to come and get you.
 Not a moment of backyard play went by without you in the thick of things.  When you got to be an annoyance by stealing balls, frisbees, socks, numerous winter hats, mittens, and little girls' hairbows, you got sent back to the mudroom.  (And who can forget Katharine's beautiful in-progress afghan you ruined, or the down ski jacket you shredded, filling the mudroom with feathers while Chris dog-sat you?) But then the barking and pleading would begin, because you did not want to miss out on any fun.  The kids tried to get you to jump on the trampoline with them many times, but you preferred the more stable view from the picnic table.
 Just two weeks ago, you were in the middle of our family work day ~ a leaf-raking companion....
 ....or a trench digger for the underground gutter we were installing!

 You could hardly stand it when we had parties out back.  At Kory's 15th birthday party this summer, you indulged in lots of hamburger patties and roasted marshmallows.
 You were the perfect paper route companion for Kory all those years, and the whole neighborhood came to know you because of it. You even encountered a bear one day on that route, but you really weren't that brave. (Even our chickens scared you!) A beagle paper customer even had his owners bring you over to play quite often on their morning walks, and the mailman brought you a treat EVERY day. 
(He doesn't know that you're gone yet.  Oh, how sad I'm sure he will be!)
 But you couldn't resist an open door to adventure and off you dashed Friday morning.  (Despite our best efforts at electric fences, ties, and a gigantic cage at night.) We were about to go and cut down our Christmas tree, but then Dad went to search for you.  He didn't have to go far.  Traffic was already stopped on our busy street, and you were already gone.  Kory went out to help, but returned quickly, in tears, and couldn't even get the words out.  All he could sputter was, "Dad needs you to bring him a blanket."  I ran out and saw you lying in the grass where Dad was petting you and weeping. The taxi van driver that hit you was there too, and almost as devastated as we were. A policeman arrived, saddened himself, and was so kind.  He stopped traffic while we wrapped you up in the blanket and carried you home ~ just a few yards away. 

Kayla wrote a note and gathered one of your toys to place with you in your grave...
 ...and a 15 year old boy dug your grave along with Dad.  
Dad thanked God for letting us have you in our family for the last 6 and a half years, 
and then the 15 year old boy sat by your finished grave and wept over the loss of his best friend.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gratitude ~ A Favorite Thanksgiving Song

Send some rain, would You send some rain?
'Cause the earth is dry and needs to drink again
And the sun is high and we are sinking in the shade
Would You send a cloud, thunder long and loud?
Let the sky grow black and send some mercy down
Surely You can see that we are thirsty and afraid
But maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to thirst for You
How to bless the very sun that warms our face
If You never send us rain

Daily bread, give us daily bread
Bless our bodies, keep our children fed
Fill our cups, then fill them up again tonight
Wrap us up and warm us through
Tucked away beneath our sturdy roofs
Let us slumber safe from danger's view this time
Or maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
A lesson learned to hunger after You
That a starry sky offers a better view if no roof is overhead And if we never taste that bread

Oh, the differences that often are between
What we want and what we really need
So grant us peace, Jesus, grant us peace
Move our hearts to hear a single beat
Between alibis and enemies tonight
Or maybe not, not today
Peace might be another world away
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to trust in You
That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need
And if You never grant us peace

But Jesus, would You please . . .

I promise you'll be blessed today if you click here to listen to the song and a lovely video to go along with it!

Special thanks to Sara E. for introducing me to Nichole Nordeman and this song ~ 
it is one of my all time favorites. 
Missing you at our table today, Sara!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Favorite Thanksgiving Verse & Story

  What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits to me?

I shall lift up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord...

To Thee I shall offer a sacrifice of Thanksgiving, and call upon the name of the Lord.

Psalm 116: 12, 13, & 17

So thankful for salvation and hope in Christ this year....and so many other things.

 

I posted this a few years ago for Thanksgiving. It's one of my favorite thanksgiving stories. Also the reason Kayla's middle name is Elizabeth.....


I glanced down the long dim aisle to make sure no guard was in sight, then drew the Bible from its pouch. "It was First Thessalonians," I said. We were on our third complete reading of the New Testament since leaving Scheveningen. In the feeble light I turned the pages. "Here it is: 'Comfort the frightened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that none of you repay evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all....' " It seemed expressly written for Ravensbruck.

"Go on," said Betsie. (Elizabeth) "That wasn't all."

"Oh yes: '... to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus."

"That's it Corrie! That's His answer. 'Give thanks in all circumstances!' That's what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about these new barracks!"

I stared at her, then around me at the dark, foul-aired room.

"Such as?" I asked.

"Such as being assigned here together."

I bit my lip. "Oh yes, Lord Jesus!"

"Such as what you're holding in your hands."

I looked down at the Bible. "Yes! Thank you, dear Lord, that there was no inspection when we entered here! Thank you for all the women, here in this room, who will meet you in these pages."

"Yes," said Betsie. "Thank you for the very crowding here. Since we're packed so close, that many more will hear!" She looked at me expectantly. "Corrie!" she prodded.

"Oh, all right. Thank you for the jammed, crammed, stuffed, packed, suffocating crowds."

"Thank you," Betsie went on serenely, "for the fleas and for..."

The fleas! This was too much. "Betsie, there's no way even God can make me grateful for a flea."

" 'Give thanks in all circumstances,' " she quoted. "It doesn't say, 'in pleasant circumstances.' Fleas are part of this place where God has put us."

And so we stood between piers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas.

From The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
(Corrie's family was sent to a Nazi prison camp for hiding Jews in their home during WWII. Corrie was the only survivor. It was her sister Betsie's faith that strengthened Corrie during that horror.)


Friday, November 19, 2010

Gluten Free Friday ~ Sweet PotatoTurnip Soup

 To celebrate Robert's birthday last month, the two of us went to a fairly new restaurant in town that we've been wanting to try. Called Tabella's, it's a tapas restaurant, which means that it serves a selection of appetizer-type dishes rather than full meals and entrees.  We ordered about 4 different items and shared each one.  Well, except the sourdough bread basket, which Robert assured me was absolutely terrible. (Yeah, right!) The other dishes were sausage and sauerkraut, chickpea fries, and the special of the night ~ Sweet Potato Turnip Soup.  This restaurant is very up to date on the whole gluten free thing and our server knew immediately which items were safe.

 Everything was delicious, but I couldn't stop thinking about the soup. Every week at the farm there are gigantic turnips to take home, but being a bit scared of them, I usually pass them up, or bring a couple of small ones home and hide them in our mashed potatoes.
 Well, this week I was determined to do something different.  There were loads of sweet potatoes and turnips in our farm share this week, so I filled a bag with them, alongside some onions and other wonderful hard veggies that are in abundance now, and brought them home. 
(Only one more week of farm pick-ups until June ! I didn't purchase a winter share.)
Using some online recipes I found as a guide, and then adding a few of my favorite spices and coconut milk, I think I came up with a pretty yummy soup last night.  Robert is out of town now, so he couldn't try it, but if the kids are any indication, I think he will like it.  They ate bowlfuls and raved about how good it was.  We ate it with gluten free cornbread and a tossed salad, and can't wait for the leftovers for lunch today!

Here's the recipe:

Sweet Potato Turnip Soup

2 large turnips
3 medium-large sweet potatoes
3-4 small onions ( or 2 med.)
8-10 garlic cloves 
3-4 Tbsp olive oil (for sauteeing)
broth or water to cover veggies while simmering (I used water)
1 can coconut milk
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Chop, place in stock pot and saute garlic and onions in olive oil until tender.  Peel potatoes and turnips, chop into small cubes, place in pot with onions and garlic and just cover with broth or water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes until all veggies are tender.  Puree in batches in a blender.  Return to pot and add spices and coconut milk.  Let simmer again for 10-15 minutes. Makes 10-12 servings.

Carrots and celeriac would work well in this soup, too!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Paratroopers, Rescue Dogs, Theater Camps & the Amish

I know I've mentioned multiple times how much I love the curriculum that Classical Conversations provides for my kids. As a tutor at the Challenge level for the second year in a row, I only appreciate it more and more.  As my younger two kids come up through the Foundations, Essentials and Challenge A levels, I can see how it all works together and builds on previous years.  So thankful for this program!

This week my Challenge II class had to present a proposal for an art grant from the Phil & Thropist Foundation.  This has been a long term project.  The assignment was given near the beginning of the year, and it was due this week.  (We put it off a week because one family was out of the country.) They were to "design a real or imaginary work of art, project, or related cultural event to convince a jury of peers and other judges to give grant money.  Also, create an overall presentation including art work, budgeting projections, verbal persuasion, and other expository techniques."  Because I only have 3 students as opposed to the allowed 12, I had to tweak the assignment a bit.  They competed for only one grant of $10,000 and I brought in adult judges whose evaluations I averaged alongside their two peer evaluations.

Kory's idea (Who can guess?) was a monument to Major Richard Winters who served as a paratrooper in World War II and was instrumental on D-Day in taking out a German artillery encampment along with many other quite heroic actions during the war.  He is one of the main characters in the book and movie Band of Brothers.  As you can see, Kory created a design for the monument (copper statue of Richard Winters) as well as the landscape design for a park surrounding the statue.  He also created a portfolio for each of the judges including his application, credentials (B.S. Business, Univ. of TX, M.A. History, Harvard, current Harvard History Professor ; ) ) budget proposal ($85,000+), and information about the sculptors, landscapers, and other contributing organizations.  The park and monument would be located in Philadelphia, as Major Winters is from Pennsylvania.
Megan's proposal was for a summer theater camp for inner city kids in New York.  During the course of the summer, the kids would practice, make sets, and eventually perform the musical The Music Man.
Megan had several handouts which included a daily schedule for the camp, budget projections, and her grant application. Above you can see how the distinguished panel of judges scrutinized every detail ~ they were great and gave the students wonderfully constructive feedback!
Kory and Megan caught me trying to get their picture while they were evaluating Anna's presentation!  By the way, this is not representative of their normal class attire, but maybe it should be!  Hmmmm.....  
(Just kidding guys!)
Interestingly enough, we had two proposals for a military-type memorial.  Anna's proposal was for a monument to rescue dogs.  Her monument would be located in the mall area of Washington D.C.  Anna also had a portfolio of including her application, credentials, and budget proposals. She ended her proposal with a story about a soldier named Cory and his rescue dog named Cooper (yes, really) ~  it was a true story!  It's actually a very sad story in which Cory and Cooper are both killed in action, but for our sakes Anna changed it to read  that the soldier and his dog "were harmed" instead of revealing the true outcome of their mission!
I was so proud of the three of them!  They all did spectacular jobs on their presentations.  One of the judges~ a friend of mine from church ~ happens to be a Brown University Professor.  After all presentations were given, she turned to the kids and said, "I am so impressed!  I listen to college students give presentations all of the time, and you all are definitely on par with them.  Great Job."

Kory ended up "winning" the grant money by a slight margin, and I was really proud of him.  (And glad that I wasn't a judge this time!)

One of the other great quotes of the day was during  the Q & A segment following Kory's presentation.  Sarah, our Classical Conversations Foundations Director asked Kory why he chose Philadelphia over Lancaster, which is where Richard Winters is actually from in Pennsylvania.

Kory's reply was: "I didn't think the Amish would like it."

I couldn't stop giggling.

So proud of my little class!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Historical AND Modern Fashion Show for Girls

 Kayla and Marisol eagerly await the beginning of the show!

 Kayla and I had so much fun last Friday night attending The American Girl Fashion Show at Old Sturbridge Village. Old Sturbridge Village is a living history museum which allows visitors to experience life in New England during the years 1790 - 1840. It is the perfect place to host a historical fashion show featuring all of the beloved American Girl Dolls and their iconic outfits.
  
 We got to see Felicity and Elizabeth serve a proper tea.  Hold your pinky finger in while drinking tea, not pointing out!
 Beautiful Josefina in her white camisa, hoop earrings, leather moccasins, and rebozo, or shawl...
 Rebecca Rubin from New York City, 1914, in her red herringbone dress with velveteen cuffs, black stockings and two-tone boots....
 Kit Kittredge and her Depression era lilac sweater set and floral skirt with white sandals...
 Julie and Ivy in their 1970's attire: peasant shirts, two tone bell bottoms, and platform shoes. 
(Julie is on Kayla's Christmas list!)
 And from the time of the Civil War, Addy, in her white nightie....
And even the Bitty Babies got some stage time!

It was a really fun evening complete with a dinner, a gift bag containing paper dolls, clothes-designing templates and printed papers, and prizes, too.

The models were all local little girls who were just as excited as ever to be real models, on stage, showing off favorite dolls and outfits.  We couldn't believe how much each girl looked like the doll she was representing!

Kayla was absolutely mesmerized ~ so wonderful to experience it with her and talk about her favorite types of clothes.  All so healthy and positive and modest, too!  Wonderful!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gluten Free Friday ~ 10a.m & 3p.m.. = Snack Time

Maybe you've noticed that I don't always get a recipe up on Fridays.  I have posted some recipes lately, but not always on Friday, so I sort of stopped naming the recipe posts "Gluten Free Friday."  In the last couple of weeks, though, several people have told me that they have referred family or friends who are just starting out on the gluten-free-diet-journey to my blog.  In my horror at this revelation, I say that I hope they find something actually  helpful on that journey in my sidebar where there are real bloggers listed who blog only about gluten free living!  Unfortunately, reading my blog may be disappointing in that regard, as they may find more information about my homeschooling adventures, or my hens, or whatever my heart so desires on a given day.  Oh well.  As I told a blogger friend recently, and as the old song goes...."It's my blog and I'll cry or ________________ (fill-in-the-blank) if I want to."  This space is really just a creative outlet for me and a fun way to keep in touch with far off friends and family.  I used to scrapbook, now I blog.  Virtual show and tell.  But if it actually helps someone, well....great!

But in honor of those who come here to look for gluten free lifestyle helps, I would like to make a list of our family's favorite gluten free snacks. We are regularly scheduled snackers here in the Krum house.  No one is ever able to make it from breakfast to lunch without a snack or their hobbit's "second breakfast."  The kitchen is really never closed around here, much to this mama's dismay and fruitless efforts to do just that every morning after breakfast.  And we don't eat cereal.  If we did, there would no doubt be, a 9a.m. snack AND an 11a.m. one as well.  We're all about protein for breakfast around here just so that we can make it until 10a.m.!  It's just same song, second verse after lunch.  3p.m. around here means coffee for mom and popcorn or some other snack for kiddos.  I do not remember snacking like this as a kid, but I know it is probably a healthier way to eat, so I surrender to the twice-a-day snack routine.  Honestly, I can't make it for more than 3 hours without food either, but feeding yourself a bite of something is much easier than feeding 4 or 5 folks five times a day!

Here are some gluten free snack favorites of ours:

popcorn ~I make it the old fashioned way ~ in a pot, with oil, on the stove.
(Once a college student saw me doing this and exclaimed, "WHAT are you doing?????"  They thought popcorn mysteriously materialized out of an inflated bag in the microwave.)

chips and salsa ~ we're from Texas, but who doesn't love this snack?  I run the store bought salsa through the blender for "chunk aversion" children.  Add guacamole for a more filling snack.

rice crackers and hummus

carrot sticks (and other raw veggies) and hummus (Tribe Garlic Roasted is our favorite brand/flavor.)

rice crackers and cheese ~ we love Trader Joe's Rice crackers and herbed goat cheese or asiago

cheese slices and pepperoni

apples and peanut butter ~ protein + sweet crispness = perfect

pears with goat cheese and cinnamon ~ see photo.  YUM!

rice cakes (Lundberg Brown Rice ~ our fave!) with cream cheese ~ try a flavored cream cheese.

rice cakes with peanut or almond butter ~ have you tried the individual peanut/almond butter packets by Justin's?  Perfect for travel ~ I don't go anywhere without them! Frozen gluten free waffles with cream cheese or nut butters work great, too.

trail mix ~ assortment of nuts and dried fruit (chocolate chips always seem to sneak in around here, too)

yogurt ~ we love the new Greek yogurt fad ~ delicious and custard-y. Oh ~ and coconut milk yogurt!  Wow!

bars ~ this protein/energy bar recipe or a chocolate chip/oatmeal bar that I hope to post soon!

muffins ~ I make a double batch on Monday or Tuesday mornings, leave them out on a plate all day, and watch them disappear! (Or freeze them for future snacking.)

bananas ~ always hanging in the kitchen or in the freezer for smoothies

cereal ~ not for breakfast, but often for a snack time or before-bed-treat ~ we love the new gluten free Chex cereal varieties.  I think chocolate and cinnamon are the favorites here.

granola ~ whenever I get around to making it from gluten free oats, but oh-so-yummy on Greek yogurt!

olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and marinated garlic ~ this is really a mom favorite.  I love to go to the olive bar at the grocery store and get my Mediterranean fix.

What about you?  What do you eat for a gluten free snack?  
We're always looking for more ideas around here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Leaves + Weeds + Chicken and Rabbit Droppings = Happy Family & Ibuprofen

 Our family is hobbling around today due to cramped hands, splinters, sore backs, and aching leg muscles ~ all from yard work! It was time to get the yard cleaned up before winter arrives in full force, and our only obligation yesterday was Kayla's mid-morning dance class.  We started prepping the kids early in the week ~ "Saturday is going to be family workday guys, so prepare your hearts and minds.  Okay? There will be raking, and cleaning of gutters, taking down the garden fence, pulling out the old plants, cleaning out the chicken coop and MORE!"
 We started at around 9:30 in the morning. The first order of business was the cleaning out of the gutters.  Robert and Kory did that. Everyone was doing outside chores except for this little girl below whose room was a complete wreck.  I know it's hard to believe from this picture, but when she woke up there was hardly a place for her to put a foot down out of her bed.  She's had a few rounds of playdates this week which called for just about every toy, stuffed animal, article of clothing that she owned to be pulled out. Amazingly, in just about two hours she completely turned it around and even rearranged her furniture and wall-hangings!
 Even Buddy got in on the action!  When he saw Kory digging a trench for an underground gutter, he simply could not resist jumping in and taking over that job!  I mean, that is one of his spiritual gifts ~ digging holes.  It is second only to his gift of snatching little girls' winter hats and gloves, running far away and then chewing them to bits.
 Robert got the most unpleasant job of the day ~ cleaning out the coop.  It required a shovel and SEVERAL loads of poop to the compost pile. Really stinky and gross, and this for chickens that have all but stopped laying eggs for the winter.  We've gone from upwards of 10 a day to just 1 or even none.  So sad. Store bought eggs just do not compare!
We worked from 9:30 until dark with a lunch break and a hot chocolate ~ coffee ~ popcorn break at 3pm.  I thought I was in pretty good shape, but this kind of work is exhausting.  Most of it was raking leaves and pulling weeds and plants out of the garden which just seems to work muscles that you never knew you had!  I was SO proud of the kids, though.  They stayed with the work ALL DAY with hardly a complaint, and I don't know what we would have done without them.

After dinner I saw Robert popping a couple of ibuprofen tablets and decided to join him.  They hardly put a dent in the soreness, and when the alarm went off for church this morning at 6am, we weren't sure if we'd be able to pull ourselves out of bed ~ even with the extra hour!

As I write this, Kayla has an apple crisp in the oven, but we are out of ice cream to go with it.  I asked the boys if they would walk to the store (one block away) to get us some, and was met with groans of fatigue and soreness.  Wow!  Usually the purchase of ice cream is a major motivator for a grocery trip for mom.  Not today! They did go to the store anyway, but probably won't be happy about it until they get home and consume it with their sister's yummy dessert.

Hope your fall leaf-raking is going well and that you'll reward yourself with some delicious fall treats as well!

I hope to be back soon and post about a fabulous fashion show that Kayla and I attended on Friday night ~ so much fun!

Have a good week!

Brussels' Sprouts = YUM!

One great thing about belonging to a CSA farm is that you encounter all sorts of strange interesting new veggies, and are forced have an opportunity to figure out how to use them.  I had never even seen  Brussels' sprout on the stalk, let alone cooked or eaten one, in my entire life. Brussels' sprouts, I know, are not even that strange to most of you.  And I was at least aware of their existence, but we do get many things at the farm, that I had never heard of before they were sitting there in a labeled basket waiting to become a part of my share for the week.  This week we got daikon, and last week there was bitter melon ~ just two of many new veggies that are now on my radar.  Well, I still don't know what to do with daikon or bitter melon, but I did find something to do with the Brussels' sprouts that Robert brought home from the farm this week.  He has always been aware of what a Brussels' sprout looked and tasted like having grown up with fresh garden veggies his whole life, and so he just could not resist bringing home a big beautiful stalk full of them.

I was already in the middle of cooking dinner when he returned home with our weekly veggies, and when I saw those Brussels' sprouts, my first reaction was resistance.  Then I remembered several recipes I've seen lately for shredded Brussels' sprouts, and decided to take the plunge right then and there.  I grabbed them out of the farm bag, cut them off the stalk, washed and spun them in the lettuce spinner, shredded them in the food processor, tossed them with some other goodies, baked and served.  They were delicious.

The kids were a bit concerned, but we told them they might be pleasantly surprised once they tried them.  Kayla was the first to bite.

Kayla: "Hmmm.  They're good."

Brothers: looks and mumblings of skepticism

Kayla:  "No really guys, they're good.  Really, you should try them."

They each tried them and liked them somewhat.  They were definitely surprised that they didn't taste terrible as they anticipated.  No children asked for seconds on Brussels' sprouts that night, but that was okay, because the parents were happy to gobble up every last bite for themselves!

Here's the recipe:

Buttery Garlic and Parmesan Brussels' Sprouts

2-3 lbs Brussels' sprouts
1/4 cup butter, melted (olive oil will work, too ~ just don't need to heat/melt it!)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tsp Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in small saucepan or microwave.  Add pressed garlic while butter is melting.  Shred (don't grate) washed/dried Brussels' sprouts in food processor.  Place sprouts in large bowl and toss with butter/garlic mixture. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  Remove pan from oven, sprinkle with Parmesan, stir, and return to oven for 5-10 more minutes.  Serve warm.




Thursday, November 4, 2010

Not a Man's Job ~ A Woman's Reward

So, I spoke at church on Sunday about how women shouldn't speak in church.

Well, not exactly, but that infamously controversial verse from 1 Timothy, Chapter 2 was the focal point of Robert's sermon, along with the qualifications for elders and deacons listed in Chapter 3.  He's been doing a sermon series entitled "Devoted." He felt led to return to the basics of discipleship after being burdened this summer with the consumer mentality not only of our church, but the church in general.  It has been a call to the five devotions of the first church listed in Acts 2:42: 

  • the apostles' teaching (the Bible),
  • fellowship (sharing worship/service/faith/accountability with other believers), 
  • the breaking of bread (communion/worship), 
  • prayer (in His name, in intimacy, regularly, for His will), 
  • and the mission (giving the good news to the world....Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria)

After covering these five components of being a Christ-follower, Robert planned the last two sermons to cover church structure and leadership as well as church planting as laid out in Scripture.  Sunday's sermon was the one on church leadership.

It is difficult to get away from the biblical exhortation that men take on leadership roles in the church and in the home.  Not only are there very clear instructions on this, but as Robert stated in his sermon, "The gender story tells the gospel story."  Beginning in the garden with Adam's creation and then the creation of his suitable helper, Eve, continuing on to the development of the nation of Israel who is referred to as the wife of God and lavished with His love and favor, and culminating in Jesus, the Bridegroom, loving and dying sacrificially for His bride, the church, the illustration of man and woman in a marriage relationship is used over and over.

It is a role play we now strive to live out as a way of displaying the gospel in a tangible way here on earth.  We are asked to role play this "gender dance" in our marriages and families, and in our churches.  As the church, we are already in the role of bride.  We follow the leadership of our groom, Jesus, and He perfectly loves, and provides for our growth.  We thrive only when we are submitting to His perfect and gentle authority. And as unpopular as it may sound, the Bible calls for the same structure in marriage and in the church.

Many have and will continue to say that this biblical command is purely cultural, but when was Jesus ever affected by culture?  Jesus never bowed to His culture. In fact, I think He may be better known for breaking the codes of culture when they hindered His purposes.

Are there folks who genuinely and even physically struggle with their gender? Oh, yes.  Do fathers and husbands abuse their call to lead?  Without a doubt.  I am certainly not unaware of these serious problems, and even have many close to me who struggle with these great trials.

I don't think they negate the biblical exhortation, though. Confusing? Yes.  Painful? Yes.  But since when do trial and suffering mean that we throw out Truth?

I also don't believe this renders women doormats or sends them to the couch for soap operas and bon bons.

In a situation in which male and female are trying to faithfully live out the prescribed roles, I believe a woman will actually be and accomplish more than she might otherwise. And vice versa for the men.

I love the following quote by Ray Ortlund who wrote an essay in the book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood:
God has no intention of blurring sexual distinctness in the interests of equality in an unqualified sense.  In fact, there are many areas of life in which God has no intention of leveling out the distinctions between us.  Consider the obvious: God does not value intellectual or aesthetic equality in finances, talents, and opportunity.  It is God who deliberately ordains inequalities in many aspects of our lives.  When I came from the womb, I had only so much potential for physical, intellectual, and aesthetic development.  Some are born with less than I was, others with more.  Because God is ultimately the one who shapes our lives, I have to conclude that God is not interested in unlimited equality among us.  And because God is also wise, I further conclude that unlimited equality must be a false ideal.  But the Bible does teach the equal personhood and value and dignity of all the human race - men, women, and children - and that must be the only equality that matters to God.  One measure of our wisdom as God's image-bearers is whether we share this perspective with God.  One measure of our reconciliation with God is whether His sovereign decrees draw from us a response of worship or resentment.

Women are highly esteemed in Scripture and by Jesus.  I'm not sure where we got the idea that they weren't. I spoke on this very topic Sunday as a preface to Robert's sermon.  I owe so much of what I said and what I have learned through the years on this topic to Barbara Mouser and her course The Five Aspects of Woman: A Biblical Theology of Femininity. I especially love her observations on Mary of Bethany who clearly displayed an understanding of Jesus' identity and His mission ~ possibly better than many of the disciples.  So, why wasn't she made an apostle?  Barbara's words are that Jesus did not choose to honor Mary with a man's job, but rather with a woman's reward ~ timeless recognition for her beautiful and feminine act of worship.


The knowledge acquired from studying the theme of femininity and masculinity in Scripture has transformed my marriage, my relationships with brothers in Christ, other women, my children, friends, and even my siblings ~ a brother and two sisters.  I often relate to the wife of the man who fears the Lord in Psalm 128 ~ "She will be like a fruitful vine."  Not so much in the literal sense, as I don't think there are going to be anymore children coming out of this womb.  Rather, I relate to her in the sense that my righteous and God-fearing husband provide an atmosphere of freedom, unconditional love, and sacrifice which enables fruit to be born in my life.

I am blessed.
(And I was even able to speak in church!)


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Autumn Afternoon Awe ~ Part 2

Just how many varieties of pumpkins and squash can there be? 
 
For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies,
My town was also the home of  Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost!
 
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies:
 We're surrounded with orchards of various kinds.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise This our hymn of grateful praise.
And even Eric Carle lives nearby!

For the wonder of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
I've always loved this squash sign at a local farm and sugar shack.

Hill and vale and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light:
 Cute pumpkin people...

Lord of all, to Thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise.
 Beautiful doors, porches, and entryways

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above,
Gourds 6 for $1.00 and pumpkins ~ 50 cents each

Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Just around the corner from home...

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness
  Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
    Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Last stop ~ favorite cafe with gluten free goodies...

All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.
Perfect autumn afternoon!

Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Chanting bird and flowing fountain,
Call us to rejoice in Thee.

From the hymns:
For the Beauty of the Earth
Great is Thy Faithfulness &
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee