July 25, 2012

Currently...


{This post idea was borrowed from Emily at Jones Design Company.
If you like lovely things, you'll like her blog.}



loving: Having my girl back home from her two-week-out-of-the-country mission trip.



reading: Trusting God by Jerry Bridges. Again. Because I forget to.

waiting for: God's provision of a church and home for our family.

excited about:  a potential opportunity before us even now.

missing: my already launched oldest child.

trying to: get a bunch of homeschool curriculum sold and trying to get my act together for the upcoming school year.



using: the few card-making supplies I have on hand to send out some encouraging notes

wearing: shorts and a tee -- what my daughter calls my "deceptively sporty outfit" with my faithful Okibashi flip-flops.

planning: our lives for the next few weeks, as best I can, keeping in mind that "the heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord established his steps."

singing: 10,000 Reasons... I really should learn more of the words so I'm not mumbling my way through. I'd never heard it until a sweet family sang it in church last month.

needing: to remember not to worry, and how to not worry.

learning: again, like a good little wilderness-wandering Israelite, that God is faithful.

listening: to father and son working as a team to save the universe from all sorts of evil. I'm so proud of my Xbox boys.

wishing:  for just a bit of dark chocolate... it doesn't take much to make me happy.

doing: lots of list-making, organizing, and research to make a potential transition easier.

praying for: God to give my husband strength, clarity of thought, discernment, and grace as he studies to preach this Sunday; for my children to seek after the Lord; for me to be more faithful, grateful and Christlike

dreaming: of nesting again, and maybe even using some of the gazillion ideas I've pinned on Pinterest.




I had fun thinking through these things. Won't you come play along, too?




July 14, 2012

Comfort food: Anna's Custard Pie


I've felt under the weather for the last few days due to a stubborn kidney stone, I'm missing my girly (did I really agree for her to be out-of-reach for two whole weeks?), and it was just time. Past time.

Time to bake.

So I made my mom's custard pie today. When I find myself missing her, too, it helps to think WWAD (What Would Anna Do)? And when the going got tough, Anna baked. Now she could bake just about anything -- all from scratch, thank you -- but my favorite non-chocolate dessert she made was her custard pie. And it's one of just a handful of her baking recipes that I can consistently duplicate.  (Besides there's just something special about using a recipe that's in my mom's own handwriting.)

You'll notice that the recipe says to use a rotary beater. I have many fond memories of my mom's rotary beater and wish I had it now. I remember waking to the sound of her making pancakes or waffles with that rotary beater so many mornings... Anyway, I just use a handheld mixer on low.

A quick confession: I don't make pie crust. I gave up trying long ago. Mama's pie crust was unique and so good, but I never could get the hang of "a handful of this and a pinch of that, then just play with it until it feels right." And I don't have her heavy metal pie tins, the best thing in the world to bake pies in (I wonder if Brenda got those?). But other than that, I think I do justice to Anna's Custard Pie.

{09/18/16 update: I did eventually learn to make a decent pie crust thanks to The Barefoot Contessa's recipe and a sassy red KitchenAid food processor I won from a food blogger's giveaway!)


Anna's Custard
1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees (will be turned down later)

2) Slightly roll one refrigerated pie crust, and place in 9" pie plate, crimping edge (or, if you want to show off, make your own crust)

3) In mixing bowl, beat 4 eggs slightly with rotary beater: 

4) Then beat in:
2/3 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg (if you can grate fresh, it's amazing!)
2-2/3 c scalding hot milk*

5) Pour into uncooked pie shell. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then at 350 degrees to finish -- about 25-30 more minutes.

Anna says: "Bake just until a silver knife inserted into side of filling comes out clean. Center may look a bit soft."
 Let it cool before cutting; store covered in refrigerator.
*On the scalding milk... I just put 2-2/3 c milk into a 4 cup glass measure, then microwave in 1 minute increments until very hot but not boiling. I think it took 3-1/2 to 4 minutes today. My highly scientific method of testing the temperature is to quickly stick the tip of my very-clean finger into the milk. If it's not just warm but hot, I consider it ready.

Oh, and by the way, don't substitute one of those low-cal fake sugars for the white sugar. It doesn't work. I didn't realize this until about the third Christmas I had made the sugar-free version for a friend and tasted a piece after a meal. Looked like custard pie, tasted like humble pie. Repeat after me: "Sugar is my friend; I'll just cut a smaller slice."


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July 12, 2012

A Christless Gospel and Golf


With our daughter out of the country (and having a much better time without us than we are without her, I'm sure), we've been spending more time with our third child, the one who has yet to abandon us. But I'm not bitter...

Anyway, one evening this week we opted to stream in a family-type movie from Netflix. I'd added this one to our queue a few weeks ago:


Netflix provided this description:
Talent can only get you so far. For golfer Luke Chisholm, that turns out to be Utopia, Texas -- where he's left stranded after blowing his pro debut. Luckily for Luke, a cagey old rancher enters his life there to change it -- and him -- forever.
I'd checked for inappropriate content on IMDB and ChristianAnswers.net, it seemed fine. Besides, it featured Robert Duvall and was set in Texas.

We popped our popcorn and settled in for the time-worn tale: young man with issues sets out to escape conflict and finds encouragement from an unexpected source. {Spoilers ahead.}

As the lead character's story unfolds, we learn that Luke is an up-and-coming golfer, coached from childhood by his father. As he matures into manhood and serious golf competition, his father continues to push him toward his own image of success, rather than allowing Luke to become his own man.

This results in Luke finding himself in Utopia, Texas, under the wing of a former professional golfer, Johnny Crawford (Robert Duvall). Johnny promises Luke he'll help him find his game and maybe change his life if he'll stay in Utopia for seven days. Johnny's methods include fly-fishing, painting, and playing washers. We learn that Johnny lost his marriage and his golf career because of his drinking. Now, apparently, he's found religion and built a golf course, and all is well.

The apex of Luke's golf/life lesson comes when Johnny writes three letters on a golf ball: SFT. He tells Luke, "Don't think. See. Feel. Trust."

I don't know anything about golf, except that provides great sanctification in my husband's life when he chooses to play. But I do know that this is poor counsel for life, especially Christian living.

"Don't think." As believers, we are urged to think... about the right things and in the right way.
  • "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9)
  • "Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature." (1 Corinthians 14:20)
  • "Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:13)
  • “'For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?' But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:16)
 "See." But what do I do when I cannot see? When I'm blinded by my grief, my sin, my circumstances?
  • "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)
  • "Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:8-9)
"Feel." Based on Johnny's counsel thus far, I have to assume that I'm to feel based on what I see, but not truth I think about. Oh dear.
  • "The wise fear the LORD and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure." (Proverbs 14:16)
  • "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
"Trust." Trust my feelings? After going through the other three steps?
  • "The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him." (Psalm 28:7)
  • "Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act." (Psalm 37:5)
  • "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

If only this had been just a golf movie. But it wasn't. It's a movie with intentional spiritual implications and an incomplete gospel.

In another critical scene, Luke meets Johnny at the cemetery and is instructed to write down and bury the lies that have kept him from a life of significance. Because in the end (according to the author), our significance is the ultimate measure of our lives. And God offers us significance -- significance and adventure. Kind of like the Peace Corps, but without actually going anywhere.

It seems to me that this is yet another inoculation against true Christian faith, presenting instead a vague, fuzzy, feel-good self-help gospel that fails to mention the bad news (we are sinners) or to clearly communicate the good news (Jesus saves). Rather than repenting from our sin, we simply bury the lies we've been told or have told ourselves and move toward significance (whatever that is). And apparently, the inclusion of a church and a Bible in the movie sanctify this pop psychology.

I don't read a lot of movie reviews, but an online link led me to one by Hollywood Reporter that included this sad but probably spot-on comment:
"This homemade, whole milk, finger-lickin'-good, G-rated piece of American cheese isn't the sort of thing most urban viewers are accustomed to consuming but, if Visio Entertainment knows how to reach down-home Christian audiences, Utopia will find open arms across a wide swath of the Bible Belt and through the South."
Let's hope not, for we have the mind of Christ. Let's use it.

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Growing Home

July 3, 2012

Another milestone...

There's a lot of busyness around our house this week, and I have mixed feelings about it. My daughter is leaving us for two weeks.

About seven weeks ago, an opportunity arose for AnnaKate to participate in an overseas mission trip this summer. She's wanted to do this for a couple of years, but the timing hadn't been right. And we weren't sure that she (or I) was ready. This time, we felt she was ready and, after days of prayer and after conferring with the pastor overseeing the trip, we decided to go for it. The commitment included AnnaKate paying for her own passport and then raising the remainder of the money in a short amount of time.

God, as always, has been so good to provide all of her needs.

Now we're praying that He will keep her safe, allow her to minister, and help this mom (and her dad) to get through two weeks without her. Because this mom has mixed feelings about these milestones.

July 2, 2012

Extreme blog makeover!

If you've stopped by before, you might notice a few changes. My lovely daughter has taken it upon herself to give me a little blog makeover. She's in the process of making over my other blog, as well (which is currently in blank slate mode). We have few tweaks to go here, but I think it's looking good.

Not bad for an unsocialized homeschooler who's learning how to do this via Google, huh. (After working on this, she's glad that she is paying someone to redecorate her own blog!)