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)