Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful on Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! We are thankful this day, first and foremost, for our Savior Jesus, who gave His life so that we might have new life in Him. We are also thankful for our family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. We are thankful for the men and women who have served and are serving in the defense of our country. We are thankful for our ancestors, who bravely came to what was then a new country...

Time doesn't permit me to list every reason I have to be thankful today. But most of all, I am thankful to the Giver of all Good Gifts. Our Fighter Verse for Scripture memory for next week is James 1:17: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Thank you, Lord, for Thanksgiving!

Sacrifice in marriage? Absolutely!

Even if you could have it all, you couldn’t have it all at the same time.

A blogger I read off and on asked recently if she should “compromise” and “sacrifice” her personal goals in life in order to have the long-lasting relationship that she also desires. That left me thinking about my own life and the choices I have made.

Have I “sacrificed” or “compromised” as a married woman? Absolutely! Do I have any regrets about this? None whatsoever! There would be no joy in our life together if we weren’t both willing to sacrifice and compromise at times. If you are truly one flesh in marriage, you must be willing to submit to each other as the Bible teaches in Ephesians 5:21. This means you both make choices based on the good of the marriage.

But just because you say goodbye to some personal dreams and goals doesn’t mean you must live without dreams or goals altogether. Instead, you find that by being willing to say goodbye to a personal dream, you are now free to embrace another dream together, especially if that dream glorifies and honors your Creator.

And personal sacrifice is not only good for our marriage; it’s also good for our relationship with Jesus. He set the ultimate example of personal sacrifice for us, and He teaches us to be willing to die to ourselves daily.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Ephesians 12:1-2)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Beer Bread with Cheese

It's been a while since I've posted a new recipe. So today seems like a good day to do that. I've made this beer bread before, but this is the first time I've made it with cheese. We're going to have it tonight for dinner with broiled salmon, steamed corn, and a mixed green salad...It feels really good to be well enough to enjoy cooking again. And since my husband has had chicken pox (he had it when he was a kid), I don't have to worry about exposing him to my germs as I prepare our meal. This recipe came from a blog I've enjoyed reading over the past several weeks, but the addition of the shredded cheese is my experiment tonight. It looks really good!

3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
12 oz. beer
3 Tbsp. melted butter

Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add shredded cheese, mixing by hand to make sure that the cheese is well distributed and not clumped together. Add beer and mix well. Pour dough into greased and floured 9x5 loaf pan. Pour melted butter over top, taking care to make sure the butter doesn't all flow down the sides of the pan. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, or until top is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean from the center.

Chicken pox!

Well, this has been an odd fall season already for my husband and me.

First, we've both had a persistent cold that has held on for several weeks. It's no longer debilitating, but it is annoying to have to cough so much during the day, and it also makes it challenging to fall asleep at night.

Then, my husband was bit by a spider (probably a common sac spider), most likely when he was putting the cover on the air conditioner for the winter. He didn't even know it had happened until the area around the five bite marks started becoming red and inflamed. So he went to see the doctor, who immediately prescribed a heavy duty antibiotic, which not only knocked out the infection but also upset my husband's stomach. Thankfully, that was over before the next wave of illness came along...

On my birthday, my 41st birthday, November 4, I came down with chicken pox! Can you believe it? I had asked about the vaccine for chicken pox a few years ago, but I tested positive for antibodies, which was supposed to mean that I had already had a case of chicken pox, even though neither my mother nor I ever knew that I had it.

Well, that test must have been wrong, because I started getting a few red bumps on my face, and I had a terrible headache that wouldn't go away, even with massive amounts of ibuprofen. When I went to the doctor about it on November 5 he found that I also had a fever. But because I supposedly already had chicken pox, he thought that the bumps must be related to the fever, so he told me to go home and rest because I might be getting the flu.

By the morning of November 6, my husband was ready to call the doctor again, because the bumps had spread. They were all over my face, on my chest and stomach, and also on my scalp. In fact, before I saw the doctor that afternoon, I had chicken pox all over my body. They were the worst on my head, neck, and torso. They didn't itch at first, but they did hurt, especially the ones on my scalp. So the doctor prescribed an anti-viral drug and took a culture from one of the bumps, and by Monday his nurse called me to confirm that it is chicken pox. She told me to stay home until every one of those bumps either disappears or crusts over.

So that's where I've been ever since...home with various degrees of miserable-ness. The fever lasted six days. The headache lasted a week and a half, and I'm still dealing with some itching and pain. But thankfully, it's much better than it was all last week. I was able to work from home today, and that really did feel good. But I can't go back to the office until all of those bumps are either gone or crusted over. And there are still a lot of bumps that aren't at that stage yet.

On the bright side, I have many reasons to be thankful. God has provided so well for me during this trial. First of all, my family and my husband's family have all been so good to me, as have my friends at the ministry. I've had phone calls, cards, flowers, and wonderful meals, and there have been countless prayers prayed for me. Also, in the midst of all this, I've changed to a new doctor, and that's a reason to be thankful, too.

I had a great doctor before, a Christian physician, but it was really hard to get appointments with her, and I was tired of being assigned to a nurse practioner whenever I needed to see a doctor between annual exams. My new doctor is also my husband's doctor and an old classmate of his from college days. He's also a committed Christian, and he also cares for one of my best friends at the ministry. So I know that I will be in very good hands.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nesting again...

It seems to happen every autumn. As soon as we move our lawn furniture in for the winter and dump all of our outdoor pots and planters, I start to feel the nesting urge again---the desire for a more comfortable and orderly home.

Over the last two weeks, despite having a bad cold, I've been clearing out space in my cupboards so that the glassware I love and use the most has more "breathing" room. I gave away our everyday stoneware to make room for a new set. And I gave away several older dishes and pieces of glassware that were mismatched and I've never really used.

I even gave away our entire Christmas set. That wasn't an easy decision for me, since it had all been given to me as gifts from friends and family over a number of years. But we live in a 1,200-square foot house, and it became hard for me to justify having a set that I only use one time a year at the most. I decided that my nice white wedding china would be just as nice as Christmas as it is at every other special meal during the year, and my table will still look festive if I use pretty holiday linens and other decorations.

As a result, I've been finding that I have been using more of my nicer dishes more often recently, just because it's easier to get them out and put them back. No longer do I need to take things out to get what I need, or carefully reach around tall stacks of my nice china, praying as I do that I won't break anything in the process.

I guess it all boils down to coming to the conclusion that we don't need more room for stuff around here. We just need less stuff. And I also believe that God is working on my heart through all of this to help me learn to let go of material things.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I'm still here...sorry for the silence.

It's been a very busy past few months. I kept thinking of what to post, but then finding other things that needed to be done instead. Hence, the three-month gap since my post in late July. I am sorry about that. But real life does keep moving, even when virtual life seems to stand still. And I've been learning more and more these days that real life is often more important than the virtual.

As a brief summary of what we've done, the highlights, but by no means an exhaustive list...

  • We enjoyed our new deck after finishing it sometime in July. While the weather and the sunlight lasted for me, I was blessed to be able to spend many morning devotion times on the deck swing that my Sweetheart bought for us to use. We also enjoyed a movie night outside one night on that swing, as incredible as that sounded when we told some of our friends about it. We moved our small screen and DVD player outdoors one lovely evening in July and watched an animated version of the biblical story of Joseph--just me, my husband, and our little dog.
  • We put in a paving block border around all of our backyard garden beds, except the one along the back fence, which really needs the higher fence that it has as a support for my flowers and for the bird netting that shields our raspberry bushes. We also put in paving blocks to form a path through the yard to the garden gate, which will eventually connect our backyard space to what we hope (Lord willing) will become someday our Asian-inspired garden space...I'll have to post photos of this sometime next spring or summer since there are leaves now covering that new garden path.
  • And I baked a lot, and cooked a lot, and we showed hospitality to family and friends and enjoyed the Jewish holidays with people from my husband's Messianic (Jews for Jesus-type) church. We really enjoyed having meals outside on the new deck with family and friends. It was so pretty back there. Lord willing, we hope to do much more of this next year.
But now the winter is returning again, and I've been home these past three days with a rotten head cold. I'm feeling better again this afternoon, but I felt better yesterday afternoon, too. I was planning on being at work today--had my lunch packed and my clothes laid out to wear this morning--but I was up for a while last night with a hacking cough again. I finally took some generic Nyquil at around 4, and then slept again until 11 this morning. I think I probably got 12 hours of sleep in total, though now in one shot. But I'm still feeling groggy today, and my head is really stuffed up. I'm just thankful that this isn't turning into a flu.

That said, I'll try to post again soon, with a photo or two hopefully. If you're still visiting here occasionally, I want to thank you for remembering my blog. I hope that you and your loved ones are staying well.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One of my little onsies on the baby!

My coworker and friend, who had a baby boy last month, just sent me this sweet photo of the little guy wearing one of the onsies that I appliqued for him. Most of the time, when I make baby things, I never have the chance to see the baby wearing what I made. So this is a real treat for me! Isn't he sweet?...May the Lord bless this one with a deep and abiding love for our Savior Jesus Christ!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

He Gives to His Beloved...Sleep

I love the Fighter Verse for this week. It's such a good reminder that without God, everything we do is truly in vain. Unless the Lord is at the center of my life, and I am willing to submit all that I do and all that I am to Him, my very life is, in fact, lived in vain.

And yet, I think right now, at this juncture in my life, I appreciate the second verse of Psalm 127 just as much as verse 1. The second verse is, as follows:

2It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.

This has been a VERY busy summer so far. We nearly forgot, until this morning, that we had purchased concert tickets to hear the Minnesota Orchestra for Friday night. We don't go out very much, and we only see a live concert a handful of times a year, and yet because of the packed schedule we've been following recently, we nearly forgot about this concert on Friday.

The main piece, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is one of our shared favorites. and yet we didn't remember it until I (thankfully) opened my day planner this morning before leaving for work and saw that the date was nearly here. I commented to my sweet husband that I don't especially like the speed of our lives right now. He readily agreed, and suggested that we try to slow things down a bit...And that made me think again of Psalm 127:2.

I need that gift of sleep that our Lord promises to His beloved. We might not be able to rest as much as we'd like right now, but we are going to slow down on Friday night and just breathe deeply and enjoy the concert. God is so good to provide rest for his beloved...Lord, whatever the world is like around me, help me to always remember to find my rest in YOU.