Wednesday, March 24, 2010

All in a Day

Finger paint.
Sidewalk chalk.
Scraped hands
And nose,
Barbie band-aids.
Princess band-aids.
Story time again.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cup of Soul

Green tea with lemon grass and spearmint. What a delightful way to awaken to the world! The Tazo tea box encouraged me to contemplate "eternal mysteries" while drinking my tea. So what am I doing here? Let me take myself away and read Augustine, who is so very dedicated to contemplating divine mysteries.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beautiful Antithesis

In my Great Books II class, we are studying Augustine's City of God. Although--I must confess--I sometimes find my thoughts wandering and my eyelids drooping while reading his lengthy [and wordy] work, there are some passages that make me clap hand to heart and read with breathless excitement.

"God would never have created any, I do not say angel, but even man, whose future wickedness He foreknew, unless He had equally known to what uses in behalf of the good He could turn him, thus embellishing the course of the ages, as it were an exquisite poem set off with antitheses...so the beauty of the course of this world is achieved by the opposition of contraries, arranged, as it were, by an eloquence not of words, but of things" (Augustine, City of God, page 361-2).

Struggle haunts every movement of humanity. Ever since the curse was spoken, it hangs darkly upon us, hardening the earth, injecting pain into childbirth. Yet this struggle--this fight of mankind--richly glorifies the power and dignity of the Lord. And it reminds that He is infinitely sovereign. Sovereign, and very much alive.

This world is not a clock that was set ticking, a clock that will eventually wind down and be forgotten. We are knit to our creator, and he is continuously weaving the tapestry. He has not become idle; he has not stopped creating. There are 353,015 births every day. 14, 709 babies are born each hour. 245 babies are born every minute of every day.* God is constantly creating, molding forming.

Not only is he creating, he's using. God is immanent: closely involved in our lives. All of the bad things that happen, he utilizes for his good purposes. Although we cannot understand it, everything is working for the good of those who love him. This pain is only the amplifier to eventual triumph.

It's a simple, painful, beautiful story, this story of life. And it's rendered all the lovelier by the pain that is so hideous in and of itself.

"For as the beauty of a picture is increased by well-managed shadows, so, to the eye that has skill to discern it, the universe is beautified even by sinners, though, considered by themselves, their deformity is a blemish" (Augstine, City of God, page 367).

Let us not miss the sunlight for the shadows.

*Worldwide Missions

Friday, March 12, 2010

No. More.

I would just like to announce--to scream it from the rafters--that I am VERY tired of being sick.

This morning I was awakened by 496 builders hammering in my head. I chased them away with two little pills, but they have since returned.

Those weren't the only pills I swallowed, either. There were seven in all: vitamins, minerals, antibiotics, probiotics, decongestants.

Of course, no one wants to hear me complain about being sick. But somehow complaining helps, so I send these bitter words out into cyberspace, my screams echoing off into the wilderness of the world wide web:


Will I ever exercise again? Will I ever have energy again? Will I ever stop blowing my nose? If you have an answer, dear internet, please share, please do.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dinner on the Drive

Freshly swept driveway
Smoke swirling, dipping, diving
Flowers stuck in cup
Benches, plates and forks
Sunlight, glinting on glass jars
Pineapple, tomatoes, chicken
Skewer sticks in honey jar
Sticky fingers, smacking tongues
Laughing faces, lowering sun
Dinner on the drive
With family, friends, and fun

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Prayer

Father, convict me of my sin, that I might know your grace. Show me the lengths of my damnation, that I might see the depths of your salvation. Bring me to thee "renouncing, condemning, loathing myself, but hoping in the grace that flows even to the chief of sinners" (Puritan prayer). It is not false humility, or a wallowing self-abasement that I seek, but the destruction of my pride. Show me how wicked I am, and how good, you.

Remind me daily of these words: "What Our Lord wants us to present Him is not goodness, not honesty, nor endeavor, but real, solid sin; that is all He can take from us. And what does He give us in return? Real, solid righteousness. But we must relinquish all pretense of being anything, all claim of being worthy of God's consideration" (Oswald Chambers).

Take my pretense, Lord. Take my trying. Take me to the foot of the Cross in tears, and raise me in your arms--triumphant, redeemed.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Bike Ride

A few days ago, I decided I wanted to bike to the Farmers' Market on Park Ave. But I needed a friend. I called Gabriela.

[Relatively] early this morning, we got up and prepared for the long ride. When we started out, I was bundled warmly. Before long, however, I shed my gloves and sweater and basked in the warmth of Saturday.

Gabriela rode our bike; I rode Julia's. We made quite a pair, both bikes clunking and clicking along. Despite the not-so-smooth-or-quiet bicycles, we made good time, and were at the Farmers' Market by 10:00am.

The bright sun and clear sky had called crowds of people to the market. Milling about the stalls, they ate samples and bought vegetables and brushed shoulders. We joined them, and a nice man gave me a plum--for free! After we'd had our fill of samples and sight-seeing, we bought bagels from the bakery inside and ate them leaning against a fencepost, the sun in our eyes. Oh, delight! That is a meal I will be thinking of for a long, long time.

By the time we returned home, it was time for Gabriela to meet her mom. After dropping her off, I picked up Macy and Mollie and went to Jiffy Lube for an oil change. Since Bright Light Books is now in the same plaza as Jiffy Lube, the girls wandered over there while I waited for my car. As usual, I had a lovely time at the auto shop.

A cute young man with bright eyes took my car and keys from me, and another sweet young man held the door for me to walk into the shop. While I sat in the waiting room, a boy with a red fro, earrings, and lots of tattoos came in, looked around awkwardly, and asked if anyone was in the bathroom. When I told him I didn't think so, he mumbled, "Well, I guess I'll go then," and disappeared. (Hehe) A moment later, I was called outside by a debonair black man, who explained everything they were going to do to my car.

Apparently I was way past due for an oil change, and he spent a while explaining the damage I was causing Mirabelle. [oops] Then he led me back inside, and while we waited for the cute young man with bright eyes to finish doing whatever he was doing, Darin (the debonair black man) asked me about my life. In the course of our conversation, I learned that he was a Christian, then listened with tears in my eyes as he told me his tragic "life story". It was a special conversation, one of those bright moments that bring total strangers together for a breath.

By the time his story was over, my car was all finished. As I paid, he told me that he would always pray for me; that meeting me had made his day. I don't know why I always dread taking my car in; every time I've been at the garage with Mirabelle, it's been a wonderful time!

Thank the Lord for Saturdays. :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

What's Cooking?

It's been a while since I've blogged about food, so I thought I'd share about the dinner I cooked tonight.

After a Harville's/Wal-mart outing, I was set with all the ingredients I needed. A few days ago this dish just popped into my head; this evening was the time to see if it was creatable. As soon as I got home from the store, I started slicing and smashing and shaking and sprinkling.

Honestly, it was very simple. This is the recipe I created. Feel free to recreate it. :)

5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 red onion, thinly slice
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
kosher salt
black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place chicken in greased 9 x 13 pan. Aesthetically place onion, tomato, lemon, and garlic slices on top of chicken. Sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper, to taste (about 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper). Bake 30 minutes, or until chicken is done (no longer pink when cut open).

While the chicken was cooking, I made some hummus.

1 can garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup tahini (ground sesame seeds)
1/4 olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 T lemon juice
Red bell peppers in a jar, to taste (along with some of the juice)
Water, if needed (don't add it unless you really can't get the beans to mix!)

Dump all the ingredients in the blender and turn it on. You will have to stop, stir, and start again quite a few times before it will mix completely. Don't get frustrated--it will eventually turn into a lovely, smooth paste. Served with pita, this dip is absolutely scrumptious!

Next, I tossed green beans with lemon juice, garlic slices, a little bit of olive oil, salt (kosher, of course), and pepper, and roasted them in the oven at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Yum!

Even Drew was generous in his appreciation of the meal. Success!