Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Not Much Has Changed

"In the days of the early church, the declaration 'Jesus is Lord!' was a seditious and blasphemous rejection of the emperor's authority, and they killed Christians for saying it. Today, the declaration, 'Jesus is Lord' is an intolerant and bigoted rejection of pluralism, and the world reviles us for it."

What is the Gospel?
Greg Gilbert

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mountain or Maze?

"Many who urge that all religions do lead to God offer us the image of a mountain, with a number of routes going to the top. It does not matter which route you take: any of them will get you to the top. I want to offer a different analogy. What if the real situation is like people trying to find their way through a maze? There are lots of routes that bring us to a dead end and fail to get us out of the maze. There is just one way through.

Michael Green
But Don't All Religions Lead to God?

The Questions of God

I've long been intrigued by the idea of God asking a question.

When we ask a question, it's often to get information. What's the temperature today? What time will you be home? Who's going with you? Where do you think you're going, dressed like that? Okay, that last one was more of a statement, but you get the idea.

But when God asks a question, it's never to get information. The reason is obvious: He knows all things.
So why does He ask anything?

Let's take a look at the questions of God in the first few chapters of Genesis.

"Then the LORD God called to the man and said to him, 'Where are you?'" Genesis 3:9
"And He said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" Genesis 3:11
"Then the LORD God said to the woman,'What is this you have done?'" Genesis 3:13a


Why did He ask this? Didn't He know where Adam was hiding, and why? Of course. He asks to see if Adam will admit his wrongdoing, much as a parent does when they catch their child doing something wrong. We see what they've done, i.e. broken a vase or hurt their sibling, and yet we ask, "What have you done?"

That's the idea behind His questions. They are all asked to see if Adam and Eve will confess. I also think there's some sadness and disappointment behind the question, like when you see your child do something they shouldn't have done, especially after you've told them of the consequences if they did it. "Didn't I tell you not to bounce on the bed or you'd hurt yourself?"

A similar idea is found in Genesis chapter four, when God confronts Cain. He gives him a chance to make things right. He has not yet killed his brother. God asks him why he's sad and angry. He can still do the right thing and come to God with a pleasing sacrifice in the way God prescribed, instead of trying to come with his own best efforts. He gives Cain both a second chance and a warning, as parents often do.

"Then the LORD said to Cain,'Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?" If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.'" Genesis 4:6,7

God tells him sin wants to control him, but he must control it. The same word is used when God curses Eve. He says "Yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." Genesis 4:16b It's not talking about sexual desire, because that isn't a curse, but a blessing. It's talking about her desire to control in the marriage relationship, as she just did by making the decision to take the fruit without consulting her husband. Now he will rule over her, and the battle of the sexes, which began in the garden, has been in effect in every relationship since, with power struggles within marriage. But I digress.

The next time God talks to Abel, he has already killed his brother. God comes to him and asks a question He already knows the answer to,

"Where is Abel your brother?" Genesis 4:9
"He said, 'What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground." Genesis 4:10


So from even these few examples, we see that God is asking questions, not to obtain information from us, His creatures, but to interact with us, to fix our relationship with Him, or to judge us and remind us that we are indeed the creature and He the Creator.

Blessings and Trials


December 27, 2010.

Outside my window...cold, -10C. Only a dusting of snow for Christmas.
I am thinking...this Christmas week has been good and bad. Good because everything went well for our Finnish, Canadian and Jamaican Christmas dinners. I even attempted to make mashed potato snowmen, but without an ice cream scoop, they ended up looking more like poodles. Bad because two of our relatives were in hospital this week with serious health issues. My husband's sister had emergency surgery a few days before Christmas, but was home in time to join us on boxing day. My sister's boyfriend, who is 52 had symptoms of a stroke a week ago; slurred speech, weakness on one side, and falls, but they ruled that out and found a brain tumour in his frontal lobe. We don't know whether it's benign or malignant yet, but they say it's inoperable because it's so deep. He'll start radiation in the new year, but right now the neurologist is on holiday, and his symptoms aren't much better.
I am thankful for...the blessings in our lives. I love my family. It was good to be together for a few days.
From the kitchen...leftovers, of course. Three big meals will do that.
I am wearing...jeans, a grey top and a grey cardigan.
I am reading...The Lightkeeper's Daughter by Colleen Coble. I scored three new books for Christmas.
I am hoping...my sister's boyfriend will soon get treatment and see some improvement.
I am hearing...the train.
Around the house...my eldest just texted me that she arrived safely in Kansas City, Missouri. She went with three dozen others to a Christian conference. They went last year as well. My youngest is having four friends over for dinner this evening. They're cooking it themselves. She's a chip off the old block. My husband and I had our morning coffee in the hot tub today. A light snow was falling on us. It was a nice way to wake up.
One of my favourite things...Christmas.
Some plans for the week...I just finished six nights off, but now my husband is off for the week. Bad planning. I'm working Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. It should be quiet at work since the O.R. is closed this week. Only chemo patients. I'm of Wednesday night and we may have friends over. Friday night we have our usual Providential dinner, games and watchnight service at church. I just thought it would be nice to have a come-and-go open house on New Year's Day for anyone who wants to stop by. I'll have food on all day from noon to ten p.m. I checked with the boss and he's fine with it. We've been doing a lot of entertaining in our house this year. It's been fun. God has blessed us with this house so we have to share.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Countdown to Christmas

December 20, 2010.

Outside my window...cold and dark. I never have been a fan of winter, in spite of the fact that I was born in Finland and raised in Northern Ontario. I could easily be a snow bird, or live some place tropical. I wouldn't even mind spending Christmas under a palm tree...but I digress. Tomorrow is the shortest day of the year, and then it will begin to improve.
I am thinking...I like having both girls at home. I enjoy their company and I love to hear them laugh together. My eldest asked for a book by the Puritans for Christmas, and my youngest wants us to make a donation to International Justice Mission on her behalf, in lieu of a gift. See why I love them?
I am thankful for...the C&C Christmas banquet going so well. I'm a micro-manager, and I don't usually like help in the kitchen, so for me to have nine people cooking, and also to not have been able to do any prep-work ahead of time, so they could learn by doing, was difficult for me. And of course, there were a few glitches, but we worked through them. I think they came away with an appreciation of how much work goes into meal preparation, especially a fancy seven course meal. It was a practical application to our lesson on hospitality last month. I posted the talk and the menu and recipes below.
From the kitchen...two homemade pizzas. One with pepperoni, bacon and onions, the other with sun-dried tomatoes, herbed goat's milk cheese, red onions and fresh basil. I call that second one a hippie pizza. It was pretty good, though.
I am wearing...jeans, a purple shirt and a grey sweater.
I am reading...Tomorrow we Die, by Shawn Grady, a suspenseful thriller about a paramedic.
I am hoping...to get my last few gifts bought. We're not really buying many gifts this year, but the ones we are getting are big purchases. We bought my mother-in-law a t.v. and my mom winter tires.
I am hearing...you know...the train. It's Monday and I'm on my way to work.
Around the house...this is an organized Christmas, in spite of taking on so many new things. I've been enjoying the past two months and sharing our new home. We've walked through the snow to the hot tub several times already.
One of my favourite things...entertaining guests.
Some plans for the week...I only have to work one night, then I'm off for six. Unfortunately, my husband has more time off after Christmas, but at least we're off for Christmas and New Years' together. We're having Finnish Christmas at home on the 24th, then we're hosting two men from church on the 25th, who don't have anywhere to spend Christmas, and then we're having Jamaican Christmas at my mother-in-law's on Sunday after church.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dinner Party Menu and Recipes

Menu
1. Amuse-bouche: baked cherry tomato on basil leaf
2. Appetizer: crab croustini
3. Soup: Carrot and Dill Soup
4. Salad: Mixed greens and strawberry salad with cider dressing
5. Pasta: Angel hair pasta with Crimini Mushrooms in a White Wine Sauce
6. Main: Chicken breasts stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese,
basmati rice, glazed carrots, asparagus.
7. Dessert: Individual Trifles

Recipes

Orange-Sherbert Punch

2 cans frozen Orange Juice
2 tubs Orange sherbert, softened to room temperature
1- 2 litre bottle of Sprite
May garnish with orange slices and mint leaves.


Cherry Tomato Amuse-Bouche

1 cherry tomato per person
1 basil leaf per person
Olive oil
Thyme
Salt
Shaved Parmesan

May be made with the cherry tomato fresh or baked.
Cut a small slice off bottom of tomato so it won’t roll. Slice top off as well.
Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and thyme.
Bake for 10-15 minutes at 375 F.
Arrange basil leaf on spoon.
Place tomato on top of leaf.
Sprinkle with Parmesan.


Crab Croustini Appetizer

Toast thinly sliced bread in oven until golden brown. (I prefer Calabrese
bread.)
Brush with olive oil or butter.
Mix artificial crab, finely chopped, with
1 scallion, finely chopped, and
1-2 tubs chive and onion cream cheese
Spread crab and cream cheese mixture onto toasted bread.


Carrot Dill Soup

2 lb carrots, finely chopped (wash, but don’t peel them)
1 lg. onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
¼ cup margarine or butter
8 cups chicken stock
¼ fresh dill, reserve extra for garnish
¼ cup table cream (18%)
¼ tsp white pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Salt to taste

In a large sauce pan, sauté, onion , carrots and celery for 8-10 minutes.
Add stock and dill, bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until tender.
Puree soup with hand blender.
Stir in cream, white and cayenne pepper.
Salt to taste.
Garnish with fresh dill.


Mixed Greens and Strawberry Salad

This recipe can be made with baby spinach as well.

1 pkg spinach or mixed greens
1-2 lb sliced strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
¼ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. paprika
1/3 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 tsp. onion powder or onion flakes
1 tbsp. poppy seeds
3 slices red onion, chopped
Sliced, blanched almonds (optional)

Combine everything but the strawberries, mixed greens and almonds.
Blend with hand blender.
Pour over spinach and stawberries just before serving.
Top with almonds.


Angel Hair Pasta with Crimini Mushrooms in a White Wine Sauce

Set salted water to boil for pasta.
Wash and slice crimini mushrooms into thin slices.
Sautee in pan with olive oil and butter.
Add thyme and parsley.
When mushrooms are browned, add white wine to cover. You may use chicken stock
instead of wine.
Reduce until wine is half of what you added.
Add 1-2 cups of half and half cream.
Season to taste.
Set aside.
Boil angel hair pasta.
Strain pasta.
Add mushrooms and sauce to pasta in a bowl.
Grate parmesan cheese over it.


Basmati Rice

Measure 1- ½ cups basmati rice into covered, microwave safe dish.
Measure 3 cups water or chicken stock.
The general rule for rice is to double the amount of water to rice.
Salt to taste.
Microwave covered, on high for five minutes. Reduce heat to power level 5 for
15 minutes.
Scoop rice into small container and invert it to plate it next to the main dish.


Chicken Breasts with Feta, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Onion Marmalade Sauce

Thawed boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Sun-dried tomatoes
Crumbled feta cheese
Dried oregano
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Onion Marmalade (recipe to follow)

Between plastic wrap, pound out chicken breasts with kitchen mallet to ¼ inch
thickness.
In a bowl, cover tomatoes with 1/2 -1 cup boiling water; let stand for five
minutes or until softened. Drain well and puree in blender or food processor
with olive oil, oregano and feta cheese until smooth.
Divide among chicken breasts, spreading evenly and leaving a ½ inch border.
Roll up from long side. Tie with string. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
In a non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over med-high heat. Brown chicken on all
sides, 7-10 minutes. Bake at 375 F for 10 minutes longer or until no longer
pink inside. Transfer chicken to another dish. Return skillet to stove over
medium heat, add stock and boil for 3 minutes or until reduced by half. Stir in
onion marmalade and cook for three minutes.
To serve, remove string and cut each breast diagonally into three slices. Place
about ½ cup sauce on each plate. Fan chicken breast over sauce.

Onion Marmalade (with Chicken)

Olive oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
Balsamic vinegar
Granulated sugar
Dried thyme
Dried sage
Salt

In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Stir in onions, vinegar, sugar,
thyme, sage and salt; cover and cook for five minutes. Reduce heat to low;
cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes until completely softened. Uncover
and let cool.


Glazed Carrots

Boil 2 lb pkg. of baby carrots.
Strain carrots.
On stove in pot, with burner turned off, add ½ cup water, 4 tbsp. butter and 12
tbsp. brown sugar.


Asparagus

Cut wooden ends from asparagus. Rinse.
Steam until just tender. Do not over cook.
Add butter and almonds, or butter and Mrs. Dash.


Individual Trifles

Assemble enough dessert glasses for all guests.
Slice thawed pound cake into small cubes.
Mix vanilla pudding package according to instructions.
Mix strawberry or chocolate mousse according to instructions.
Whip 500 ml carton of whipping cream with a few spoons of sugar until it forms
stiff peaks.
Slice washed strawberries.
Open can of peaches and drain.
Raspberries.

Assemble a few cubes of pound cake, top with vanilla pudding, peaches, pound
cake, mousse, strawberries, pound cake, whipping cream and raspberries. Shave
chocolate on top. Chill for one hour minimum.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

How to Plan a Dinner Party

How To Plan a Dinner Party


It takes a lot of hard work to make it look effortless.

Something will not go according to plan. Expect it. Roll with it.

Choose:
Type:

Casual: friends for bbq
movie night
special occasion,i.e. birthday
other theme

Semi-Formal: special occasion i.e. milestone birthday or anniversary
theme: Valentine’s Day, Christmas Party
ethnic

Number of People:
*Plan as if everyone you’re inviting will come, plus a few unexpected guests, so
you’ll have enough food and seating. Better too much than not enough.

*Large groups may require a larger venue or the opportunity to be both
indoors/outdoors. i.e. bbq at home. This presupposes good weather. Otherwise…

*For dinner parties, generally no more than three or four couples works best.
For larger groups, either keep the meal casual, or just serve drinks and party
foods.

Date:

*Harder to plan when you’re dealing with larger numbers. There’ll always be
someone who can’t make it. Hopefully, the guest of honour will be there,
though! Also harder for those who do shift work. Dates may need changing to
accommodate. Hopefully, the non-shift workers will be more flexible.


Menu:
*May be an ethnic theme, a holiday theme, or the guest of honour’s favourite
foods.
*Can be a combination of homemade or store bought, but try to make most
yourself.
*Find out about your guests food allergies/dislikes. Could be life threatening.
*Some hosts are daring and will try new recipes for the first time the day of
the party. I need to try it at least once before, so I know how it tastes, and
if I know how to cook/bake it. I once had to make a cheesecake at the last
minute as Plan B because my Pavlova flopped.


For a formal dinner party, serve:
Amuse-bouche—this is a one or two bite pre-appetizer palate teaser. It should
be tasty and visually appealing. May be served on individual spoon.
Appetizers—plan for two to three types, and 2-3 of each kind per person, if they
serve themselves or plated with about five or six bites per person.
The first two courses can be served before everyone is seated. Always be
watching that your guests have a drink.
Punch, Wine, Water, Juice, Pop.

Soup—keep it light. Don’t make a stew.
Salad—Usually with the dressing incorporated. Find out before you add it if
someone doesn’t want it included.
Pasta—Small portions are important when you are serving seven courses. You
don’t want your guests stuffed when there are still three courses to go. It
won’t be enjoyable.
Entrée—Plated or family style (see below for descriptions)

Include one or two meat, fish or poultry.
A starch—potatoes or rice or pasta.
Two vegetables—try to use a variety of colours.
*Make sure the individual parts of the meal work well together. If you have a
heavier meal, make a light dessert.

Dessert

Coffee/Tea. –Specialty coffees and teas are nice.

*See sample menus at the end.

Serving Styles:

Buffet

*All food laid out on a table, along with plates, cutlery, glasses and napkins.


Everyone serves themselves. An alternative is cafeteria style, where the food
is set out but one person serves it to the guests. This controls portions.

*Advantages of this style: easiest for the host, especially easier if it’s also
a potluck, where guests bring prepared food. People take only what they want
and as much as they want.

*Disadvantages of this style: may run out of something before everyone gets to
try it, if people take larger portions. Very casual, not so much about the
experience of eating.

Family Style
*Also known as Boarding house style. Adage: stretch or starve.

*More informal. Food is served in serving bowls or pots in middle of table.
Everyone serves themselves.

*Advantages of this style: People take only what they like, and only as much as
they want. The host can enjoy the meal more; less serving.

Feels like home=comfort.

*Disadvantages of this style: Doesn’t feel as special.



Formal Dining/Plating Food
*Each course is brought out to the guests and placed in front of them with plate
already full. Serve from the guest’s right side and remove dishes from the
left. Serve beginning with the women first, especially the guest of honour or
the oldest woman.


*Timing is essential to keep hot food hot.

*Advantages of this style: each plate can look picture perfect. Portions are
controlled by the server. Because it is so artistic and they are being served,
guests feel special.

*Disadvantages of this style: the cook is the host and the waitress. Not
usually able to get someone else to serve you, i.e. teens.

*Not as relaxing for the host since you have to be anticipating the next course.


Ambience:
*Table setting: extensions in table, table cloth or placemats, name tags for
planned seating arrangements, special dishes, cutlery, glasses, lighting,
candles, appropriate music, decorations, flowers.


*Do as much ahead of time as possible, i.e. clean house, put extensions in
table, shop for groceries, cut veggies, iron table cloth, make dessert, because
the day of the party is busy enough and you have to get yourself together, too.

*When you begin to prepare your meal, consider what takes the longest and count
back from when you want to serve it, add some prep time and then begin cooking
that first.

Also plan food so it will be ready for the time it will be served. This will
improve with experience. Make lists if you need help reminding yourself.

i.e. appetizers first. If they need to be hot, make sure you put them in just
before guests arrive, so they’ll be hot, and your guests will smell them when
they walk in. Keep in mind how many burners you’ll need use of, and oven
space. That’s why it’s best to prepare as much ahead as possible.

*Decide if you’ll have any activity planned, i.e. games, gifts, singing, sports,
dancing.

Clean up before guests arrive, and clean as you go, putting dishes in the
dishwasher, or, if your guests have a view of the kitchen when they’re eating,
pile them into a laundry basket and get them out of sight.



Invitations:
*Be clear. Announce Who is invited (who is not, i.e. no children),

When it is, both date and time,

Where it will be held and a small map if the address is not easy to get to or
familiar to those invited.

Also mention if there are special considerations, i.e. parking costs or places
for extra parking.


Occasion, and if a gift is expected or not.

A date to RSVP by and a number or e-mail to
call.

Say if the party is a surprise or not.

Dress code, if necessary.

Send the invitations by mail or e-mail.



Sample Menus:
If this makes you hungry, it’s not my fault.

1. Theme: dinner party
Style: formal dining/plated

Menu: Bacon-wrapped scallops
Samosas
Cream of Leek soup
Garden Salad
Roast Beef
Scalloped potatoes
Snow Peas and carrots
Raspberry whip stuffed crepes
Flavoured Coffee


2. Theme: dinner party
Style: formal dining/plated

Menu: Sushi
Stuffed mushroom caps
Miso soup
Mixed greens with pear and feta salad
Atlantic salmon
Wild rice
Asparagus
Bavarian Apple cheesecake
Flavoured coffee


3. Theme: Homecooking/Sunday dinner
Style: Family style

Menu: Spinach and strawberry salad
Roast chicken/ribs
Hassleback potatoes with sour cream
Green beans/ baby carrots
Lemon poppy seed cake


4. Theme: Seasonal (summer)
Style: bbq/buffet/family style

Menu: Potato salad
Corn on the cob
Burgers
Strawberry shortcake
Pina colada punch

5. Theme: Comfort food
Style: family style

Menu: Pea soup
Garden salad
Chicken pot pie with herbed crust
Chocolate cake


6. Theme: Ethnic (Italian)
Style: Family Style

Menu: Caesar Salad
Lasagna, garlic bread
Tiramisu

7. Theme: Movie Night (Subs vs. subs)
Style: Buffet

Menu: Torpedo shrimp
Submarine sandwiches
Ice cream sundaes

8. Theme: English Tea
Style: Tea party/buffet/bunch

Menu: Scones, sandwiches with no crusts,
Canapés, crudités, pastries, coffee cake.



9. Theme: Ethnic (Greek)
Style: Family Style

Menu: Greek salad
Chicken and lamb souvlaki with tzatziki sauce
Rice
Baklava

10. Theme: Ethnic (Jamaican)
Style: family style

Menu: Salad
Curried chicken
Rice and Peas
Fried okra and tomatoes
Coffee cake

Monday, December 13, 2010

Serendipity!

December 13, 2010.

Outside my window...cold, cold, cold. Occasional snow. We ended up not going to London for our Finnish family Christmas gathering due to road conditions.
I am thinking...the Ladies' Christmas banquet went well. I was able to take Wednesday night off so I had enough time to get everything ready. I felt calm and relaxed, and I think the Bible study went well, too.
I am thankful for...new friends. Since we had a change in plans, we invited a new couple from church over for dinner on Sunday. It was one of those times where we just hit it off right away. I can see us becoming close friends. That's happened maybe half a dozen times in our lives. We had such sweet fellowship. Serendipity.
From the kitchen...honey garlic meatballs, home fries, baby carrots, green beans, and salad.
I am wearing...jeans, a grey long-sleeved top, and a thick sweater. I'm even wearing a silly looking black and white Elmer Fudd hat with my hood over top. I'm not a hat person, so that tells you how cold it is.
I am reading...Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff. It's a look at the funny side of faith.
I am hoping...to finalize my menu tonight for the College and Careers Christmas Dinner Party on Saturday night. I have to run the menu past them to make sure I'm not making something one of them is allergic to. We had discussed hospitality, (see the post under Bible Studies), and then they asked me to teach them how to plan and execute a fancy dinner party. So they'll be helping to cook and serve, but I'll have to be teaching as we go. I'm feeling a little nervous about it. Usually if I forget something, I'm the only one who knows it.
I am hearing...the train. At least the passengers are quiet for once.
Around the house...we went to the furniture store, cancelled our eight-month old order for the buffet/hutch, and purchased a floor model for half of our deposit. They gave us a cheque back and now we can purchase a t.v for the basement, along with an x-box game system. The buffet-hutch should arrive in time for Christmas.
One of my favourite things...surprise money, especially at Christmas time. Serendipity, again.
Some plans for the week...work four nights, prep and do the C&C dinner party, church on Sunday. Next week I only work one night, then I'm off for six over Christmas. I just finished a five day weekend, too. Not bad, considering I ran out of vacation days back in August. I love my job.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Women in the Genealogy of Christ: Part Two: Rahab

Rahab

Read Joshua 2:1-24 and Joshua 6:15-25

The Bible is an honest book, stating things as they are. It says Rahab was a harlot, a woman who sold her body for money. Some people try to downplay this by saying she was just an inn-keeper. However, in those days, only men were innkeepers. In written bills of that time, the cost of the bed is listed as a girl, whose services would have been included. Rahab may have been in such a place. It was therefore natural for the spies to lodge there as it would have been the only place to stay in a small place like Jericho.

Somehow, the king of Jericho heard there were Jewish scouts in the city and called for their immediate capture. They were probably not dressed like people in Jericho. Meanwhile, Rahab had become aware of the true identity of her guests, and had hidden them on her roof under stacks of flax. Her house would have been built on the double city wall, so it would have been higher than any other, preventing it from prying eyes. The spies were safe.

Rahab misled the king’s messengers. Then, while they were searching the countryside, she talked with the spies. She told them she knew that God had given them the land. Her people had heard about the miracle God had done for them, in parting the Red Sea, and this was forty years after the fact! She said the men of Jericho had lost courage to face the Israelites because of their God.

She was a wise woman who acted in light of proper information. She used discretion in talking about them and shrewdness in hiding them. She was hoping that in light of what she had done for them, they would do something for her. “Since I have saved your lives, will you in turn save mine and that of my relatives?” She makes them swear by God because she knew then they would keep their promises.

She was sure that when the people of Israel attacked, her people didn’t have the slightest chance against them. She had heard what they had done to the kings, Og and Bashan. She asked for a sign that they would save her when their armies returned to take the city. They told her to put a scarlet cord on her window and no one who was inside with her would be harmed.

Some commentators think this scarlet cord represented her occupation. It was her ‘red light’ in the window, and therefore would not arouse suspicion. That may or may not be true; but it represented an agreement between the two parties. As soon as they left, she bound the cord. She took it seriously and didn’t want there to be any mistake.

I’m sure as the Israelites marched around the city, she checked and rechecked that it was still there and clearly visible, for her life would soon depend upon its being seen. Her faith was so strong that she was able to convince her relatives to come and stay with her. Every one of them was spared. Compare that to Lot, whose sons-in-law mocked him when he warned of coming judgment.

Faith is a fixed and profound trust in God and the Word. Rahab had this kind of faith. Therefore, God took her tarnished portrait, cleansed it and hung it next to Sarah in the gallery of the heroes of faith (Heb. 11:1,30,31). These two women are the only two females in a long list of men. Rahab, like Sarah, a heroine of the faith? Yes, for God is no respecter of persons. There are no impossible cases with Him. He justifies the ungodly.

This was only the beginning. She lived in Israel, gave up her former way of life, married an Israelite named Salmon, and became the father of Boaz, who we’ll hear about in the next section. Rahab becomes the great-grandmother of King David.

Scripture doesn’t tell us the names of the two spies sent to Jericho, but the romantic in me likes to think one of them was Salmon, who eventually became her husband. I believe he was impressed with her faith in a God she had only learned about from afar. It was the original two spies who were the ones who personally retrieved Rahab and her family from Jericho.

It seems Joshua didn’t need the report of the spies in order to know to attack the city. So why were they sent? Because a sovereign God was searching out a particular woman to be saved.

The reason Rahab was protected? Because she protected the spies. Her whole family was saved physically, but only Rahab chose to continue to live among the Israelites. Only she had true faith.

Does this story promote lying under certain circumstances? That’s a question for another time.

The scarlet cord is a symbol that’s often used when speaking of how Christ is hidden in the Old Testament, woven into the familiar stories, hinted at in symbols and types and shadows. The whole Bible, both Old and New Testaments together, speaks of Christ. From the first promise of a coming Messiah in Gen. 3:15 to the Passover Lamb and the Manna from heaven, and the rock smitten to provide water for the people of Israel, to the bronze serpent on the pole, to the sign of Jonah in the depths for three days; He is there, until he appears in the New Testament in fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. He is the Scarlet Cord that saves those who believe what He says. We must be ‘in Christ’ to be safe from judgment.

“Rahab and Salmon had a son, Boaz; Boaz was the father of Obed; Obed, the father of Jesse; Jesse, the father of King David. And from the line of King David and the tribe of Judah came the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.” Francine Rivers, Lineage of Grace

Being an outsider in Israel probably made Rahab a better mother-in-law to Boaz’ foreign wife, Ruth. More on that next time. Read the book of Ruth in preparation.

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Parties

December 6, 2010.

Outside my window...cold and snowy. I shovelled the driveway at our new house for the first time today.
I am thinking...I may have taken on too much. I'm hosting the Ladies' Christmas Banquet on Thursday, after working three nights. Don't know how I'll have time to clean and prep, but I gotta try.
I am thankful for...today is Finland's Independence Day.
From the kitchen...spaghetti and meatballs.
I am wearing...jeans, a red Mom sweater. That's a sweater with a built in faux shirt underneath. It's what Moms wear on commercials.
I am reading...An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers; set in first century Rome.
I am hoping... to get everything ready for Thursday. I'm also speaking on Rahab.
I am hearing...people on the train.
Around the house...we didn't make it to the furniture store to take care of the hutch situation. Maybe Friday. Both girls were home yesterday. We went to a 21st surprise birthday party for my daughter's housemate. It was held at the Oakville Country Club, which was a beautiful setting. The food was delicious and the dancing was fun. We met a nice couple and some more of my daughter's friends. I think Christians have the best parties. You can enjoy a glass of wine, but there's no drunkenness; you can have fun dancing, but no one gets stupid and hangs all over someone else. If my husband didn't have to get up at 5 a.m. the next morning, we would have stayed longer. I'm worried about my mom. She's had pain in her right side since she broke her ribs in a fall on the ice two years ago. Now she seems to have a hard lump over her liver. I hope she goes to check it out.
One of my favourite things...parties. As much work as they can be, I can't really complain that we have friends, food, health, a home, and things to celebrate. That's what life's about, isn't it?
Some plans for the week...work three nights, host a dinner, go to London on Saturday for our Finnish side Christmas party. We'll be out of town Sunday so we'll miss church, but my youngest is returning early to attend the baptisms of three of her friends. Now that's something to celebrate!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ahead of Schedule

November 29, 2010.

Outside my window...dark, but not too cold. Friends of ours moved to Finland. Right now it gets dark by four p.m. and it'll get dark even earlier as winter deepens. Oh, those Arctic winters.
I am thinking...our dinner party went well. See the pictures of the food below. We did ballroom dancing as well. That was fun. We're all decorated for Christmas. We got a real tree. It's perfectly symmetrical, seven feet tall, full and fresh. It smells amazing. I'm also finished all my Christmas cards. I feel ahead of the game, since it's not even December yet. I need to do my Christmas shopping, and a bit of baking once both girls are home. They don't want to miss that.
I am thankful for...the many blessings we enjoy.
From the kitchen...I used leftovers from the dinner party to make pork fried rice.
I am wearing...jeans, a grey long sleeved top, and a burgundy cardigan. No boots yet.
I am reading...What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert.
I am hoping...that we can settle this dining room buffet/hutch situation tomorrow. A year ago we ordered a custom built one from Amish Furniture. A week later, they announced their bankruptcy. Thankfully, we had put the deposit on Visa, so we got it all back after a few months. Then we went to a similar store and ordered another one. They said they could do it, but after they built it, they weren't happy with the quality, so we'll either get our money back, or buy a floor model. Frustrating.
I am hearing...the train.
Around the house...just life; go to work, come home and sleep; repeat.
One of my favourite things...when my plans go smoothly.
Some plans for the week...work three nights, settle this furniture issue, buy a tv for my mother-in-law and one for our basement, attend the Elders and Wives' Christmas dinner on Friday, host a friend from out of town on Saturday, church on Sunday, and attend a party on Sunday night.

Dinner Party Food

My seven course meal menu was as follows:

1) Amuse-bouche: baked cherry tomato on basil leaf, with thyme and Parmesan.
2) Appetizer: Five scallops with cayenne, on horseradish and beet compote, with scallions.
3) Soup: Butternut squash soup with a hint of curry.
4) Salad: Mixed greens with pear and herbed goat's milk cheese with creamy poppy-seed dressing.
5) Pasta: Angel hair pasta with sliced crimini mushrooms in white wine sauce.
6) Main: Spinach stuffed pork tenderloin with caramel/ginger/garlic glaze, basmati rice, carrots, parsnips, and asparagus.\
7) Dessert: Bavarian Apple Cheesecake with caramel sauce, and Hazelnut coffee.







Monday, November 22, 2010

SGF Assembly

Outside my window...a rainy day. At least we don't have to shovel rain. The first snowfall was yesterday, but in usual Toronto fashion, it melted right away. It's so dark outside, I can't make out anything through the train window.
I am thinking...we had a good Sovereign Grace annual general assembly in Ottawa over the weekend. It was a good thing we had already been to Ottawa as tourists, or I would have been disappointed to be indoors the whole time. Ideally, we would have travelled on Thursday, rather than Friday, but my husband is in a busy time at work. Anyway, it was encouraging to hear of new church plants, missionary work and growth in our sister churches. The preaching, food and fellowship were good as well. We stayed at a nearby hotel. I over packed: four pairs of shoes for one night. Best to be prepared for every fashion eventuality. :)
I am thankful for...the blessings of the Sovereign Grace Fellowship of Churches over the years. We've made many close friends and have been fed spiritually at the many conferences and retreats.
From the kitchen...pulled pork sandwiches.
I am wearing...jeans and a dark purple sweater.
I am reading...A Voice in the Wind, by Francine Rivers.
I am hoping...our emergency lights at church get fixed. Only a few of them worked. It's something you wouldn't know about if you're not there when the power goes off. It happened on Sunday night. Pedro Rodrigues was preaching from his iPad, and I remember thinking, "What if the power goes out?" Well, halfway through his message, it did, and his iPad and a few emergency lights were the only things still running. He was able to finish the message on David and Bathsheba, and then we sang Create in Me a Clean Heart, based on Psalm 51, from memory. It was good to be there. It was like an adventure.
I am hearing...conversations on the train.
Around the house...I started addressing our Christmas cards and decorating our house for Christmas this morning. I'm hoping to get it all done by this weekend when we have our dinner party. I talked with our eldest daughter on Skype today. I remember when only the Jetsons could see the person they were talking to, on the computer. It seems so space age. And the fact that it's free is a a bonus. Also, my oldest daughter is turning twenty on Thursday. Hard to believe. My youngest had friends over from out of town, over the weekend. The guest room bed arrived. I only need a few more articles and then that room is finished.
Some plans for the week...work three nights, shop for our dinner party, buy a real Christmas tree, decorate it, and prepare for the party. My seven course meal menu is as follows: 1) Amuse-bouche: baked cherry tomato on basil leaf, with thyme and Parmesan. 2) Appetizer: Five scallops with cayenne, on horseradish and beet compote, with scallions. 3) Salad: Mixed greens with pear and herbed goat's milk cheese with creamy poppy-seed dressing. 4) Soup: Butternut squash soup with a hint of curry. 5)Pasta: Angel hair pasta with sliced crimini mushrooms in white wine sauce. 6) Main: Spinach stuffed pork tenderloin with caramel/ginger/garlic glaze, basmati rice, slice orange carrots, parsnips, and purple carrots. 7) Dessert: Bavarian Apple Cheesecake with caramel sauce, and Hazelnut coffee. Then we'll sing some Christmas Carols. One of the men plays piano. Then I'm teaching them how to do the tango, waltz and cha-cha. It should be fun.

Monday, November 15, 2010

NaNo No Mo?

November 15, 2010.

Outside my window...darkness. It's been relatively mild for November; even pleasant and sunny during the day so it's not so depressing for us solar-powered people.
I am thinking...so I hit a wall with my NaNo novel. Not a writer's block, because I still have plenty to say, but I've run out of hours in a day. I suppose it didn't help that I chose this past week to paint the guest room. It needed to be done, but I'm only one woman. Maybe I can get some writing in during our travel time to Ottawa this weekend. It's five hours one way. I like the concept of NaNo, but I just can't keep up with the daily word counts in the busy month of November.
I am thankful for...the sacrifices of those who fought and died for our freedom, including my grandfather who fought in the trenches during the Winter War against the Russians. Because of that, I was born into a free and independent country (Finland). It was Remembrance Day this week, and our eldest sang the National Anthem at the service held at the Scott Mission Camp, honouring homeless vets.
From the kitchen...spaghetti a la carbonara and salad.
I am wearing...jeans, a grey top and a burgundy sweater.
I am reading...Treasure at Blue Heron Lake by Susan Page Davis.
I am hoping...to get my Christmas letter printed this week. I've written it already. I also bought photo cards and printed copies of our favourite family picture that was taken on Thanksgiving weekend by Sarah West.
I am hearing...delay announcements on the GO train.
Around the house...winding down from the fall; packing away lawn furniture, throwing out dead plants, and gearing up for Christmas; wreaths on door, evergreens on front doorstep, and garland on front pillars. I bought curtains for the guest room and we ordered a headboard, frame and mattresses for it. I also chose hardware for the chest of drawers I painted, to correspond to the iron bed. My poor husband is the "putter-together-of-things". My Mom bought a tv stand, so that's his project this evening. The girls are busy with school, and I edited a paper for each of them. I actually enjoyed doing it. Is that weird?
One of my favourite things...my family. When they're home, there's laughter in the house. I love my husband and daughters. It's nice to have a peaceful home life.
Some plans for the week...work three nights, clean, then pack for Ottawa. One night there for the SGF Assembly. Three other couples are attending from our church as well. Our daughter has friends coming over this weekend from out of town.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Women in the Genealogy of Christ: Part One: Tamar

The Women in the Genealogy of Christ

Read Matthew Chapter 1:1-17

A genealogy is a list of descendants; a family tree. Could anything be more boring than reading a list of names of people long dead? Even our most recent person on the list, Mary, lived over 2,000 years ago. In the ancient world, only male descendants were listed in a genealogy. You see this in the early chapters of Genesis.

If it were only a matter of their importance or impact in the world, I’m sure many women would have been included, like Eve, the mother of all living, who gave birth to many children over 900 years; Noah’s wife, whose name we don’t even know, who was on the first sea voyage, that lasted a year. Sarah, who received the promised child, Isaac in her old age; or Esther, the queen who saved her people from slaughter.

However, that’s not how genealogies generally work, which is what makes the genealogy we find in Matthew so fascinating. It mentions five women as ancestors of Jesus Christ; Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary. If you wanted to boast about your ‘ancestors in the attic’, you probably wouldn’t list the scandalous, the scoundrels, or the low-lifes. Every family has skeletons in the closet; the children born out of wedlock, the dead-beat dads, the criminals, the drunks, and the unscrupulous.

Yet this genealogy rejoices in these women and their place in history as the forbears of the Messiah: Tamar, who posed as a prostitute to have an incestuous relationship with her father-in-law; Rahab, a Gentile prostitute who lied about hiding spies; Ruth, a poor widow and foreigner, who, according to the law, could not enter the temple for six generations, but became the great-grandmother of King David; Bathsheba, the woman who had an adulterous affair with King David, and Mary; a young teen, pregnant before marriage, in a culture that demanded she be stoned.

Why are these women included in the genealogy? Why boast about them when they have nothing to commend themselves? Or do they? Can their presence in such a noble family offer hope to those of us who feel we wouldn’t make the cut? Can we learn something from these women whose actions, both good and bad, led to the birth of the One promised to Adam and Eve when they fell?


Tamar

The two main players in this story are Judah and Tamar.

What do we know about Judah?

Read Genesis 37-12-36

He was one of the sons of Jacob by Leah. (Gen. 29:35) He was the one who suggested they sell Joseph, rather than just kill him, in order to profit from him and be rid of him at the same time. Judah had fled to the land of Canaan to live after they had sold Joseph to the Midianites. He lived there many years. Judah married a Canaanite woman, who bore him three sons; Er, Onan, and Shelah.

What do we know about Tamar?

Read Genesis Chapter 38 She was a Canaanite. Judah chose Tamar for an arranged marriage to his eldest son, Er. She was probably very young, not much past the age of her first menstrual period. She was expected to produce sons. For a young girl, if she didn’t have a husband and sons, she’d be destitute. Er was evil, and we were told he was killed by God as a result. The tribe to which Tamar belonged prohibited a childless woman from remaining a widow. They did not want a man’s name to go into oblivion. Tamar remained under her father-in-law’s authority, so he needed to arrange her second marriage, as he had her first. He told his second son, Onan to marry Tamar and produce a son that would be heir of his brother, Er.

The idea of a brother marrying his brother’s widow was not yet established until the laws were given to Moses. At this point in history, the people of Israel were limited to one family. This was a Canaanite practice, but Judah would be anxious to extend his family line. He was aware of God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. However, the idea of the father-in-law impregnating the widowed daughter-in-law was a Canaanite practice that Judah would not have considered, had he not been tricked. We see this by the fact that he never again slept with Tamar after he took her under his care and protection.

Her marriage to Onan was in name only. Onan resented the fact that the children would not be his. He would not honour his dead brother’s memory, nor provide a future security for Tamar through the birth of sons. He purposely prevented the pregnancy. This displeased God, and he took Onan’s life as well. Tamar was now a widow for the second time, and still childless.

Why was Onan so reluctant to father a child on behalf of his brother, since only the first son would be Er’s and any subsequent children would belong to him? It wasn’t just the name, which would be the same as his. It was that Er’s inheritance would pass to his son, and Onan would have to share it. He was selfish. He didn’t care to build up the family line of Judah or give Tamar a future. He used her only for his own pleasure but deliberately avoided her chances of conception. This narrative raises issues of contraception that we’ll leave for another day.

Judah sent her back to the care of her father, promising her that she could marry his third son, Shelah, once he was older. Soon after, Jacob’s wife also died, so he was grieving the loss of two sons, and his wife. The death of his wife also meant he could have no other sons. He may have been superstitious, blaming Tamar for their deaths, rather than his sons’ own misbehaviour. (Gen. 38:11) He feared giving
her his one remaining son. Tamar waited. It was the only thing a widow could do. She couldn’t live an independent life. The months turned into years, yet she was never sent for, to marry Shelah.

She believed God would vindicate her and provide justice. Yet she took matters into her own hands. She heard Jacob was nearby so she prepared to meet him. She concealed her identity with a veil, and exchanged her widow’s garments for those of a harlot. Notice she didn’t seduce or even proposition Judah; he approached her and demanded sex. While she waits for Judah, she doesn’t proposition other men who were on their way by. She doesn’t stay on afterwards. She doesn’t brag about her actions. She agreed to the price, but took some personal items to identify him, as a pledge that he’d send payment. At this point, she probably wasn’t sure he could be trusted to keep his word. She changed back into her widows garments and went home to wait and see how God would judge between Judah and herself.

The Bible often records events without commending or condemning the actions of those involved. It was a true record of what happened. Whether or not she should have done it, is debatable, but Judah’s willingness to use her for his pleasure is clearly wrong. The idea of the incestuous relationship itself, willingly done with Tamar’s knowledge is also a question we’ll leave with the scholars.

However, when Judah sends payment by his friend, they find there is no such woman in that town. Judah then feared for his reputation; something that had not been on his mind when he first saw Tamar. He hoped it would all be forgotten and he could get on with his life.

Three months later, he hears that Tamar is pregnant. He is indignant. As the widow of two of his sons and the ‘future bride’ of his youngest son, Judah must act to judge the actions of his family. Although he’s probably secretly relieved that this makes her marriage to Shelah unnecessary, without inquiring into the circumstances, he orders that she be burned for her actions. Did he have any feelings of self-accusation because of how he had treated her with regards to Shelah? Did he hope that her death would ease his conscience?

Calm and dignified, Tamar comes to her fate, but sends along the evidence of the paternity of her child. They didn’t have DNA tests, but the personal effects she had from Judah, proved he was the father. Notice Tamar asked a question rather than make a proclamation. “Do you recognize these?” Why do you think she did that? It gave Judah an ‘out’ to still deny it and save his reputation, even though it would result in her death. She would not bring shame to Judah.

In light of the evidence, Judah admits his sin. He had to confess with shame, that Tamar had vindicated the legal rights that he had kept from her. “She is more right than I am, because I refused to keep my promise to give her to my son Shelah.”

Judah had used a double standard and wanted to see Tamar killed for an offense he had also committed. Judah’s sin of hypocrisy is something with which all people struggle. In Romans 2:1 Paul condemns those who judge others for sins they themselves commit.

Judah never showed Tamar any pity; when she lived with the wicked Er, when she was defrauded by Onan; when he abandoned her to her father’s house; when he withheld Shelah from her. He blamed her for the death of his sons, feeling she was somehow cursed or a curse. He would have allowed her to die a horrible death without any feelings of remorse.

Meanwhile, Tamar did not publicly embarrass him by demanding her rights. She could’ve told how she tricked him and make him a laughingstock of his peers. Even after her pregnancy was exposed and she was condemned to die, she did not expose his sin, but returned his personal effects privately, through her servant, protecting his reputation. Tamar was a Canaanite, but she was honourable and loyal.

He then took her under his care again, but did not have sexual relations with her again. A marriage with Shelah was no longer necessary, as Judah had served as his replacement. Tamar hoped for a son, Judah hoped for an heir. What did God do? He doubled their blessing. She gave birth to twins, Perez and Zerah. Justice had been done. The promised seed would come through the line of Judah, by way of Tamar, through Perez. The Messiah is referred to as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Tamar is the first woman mentioned in the genealogy of Christ. This does not mean that God approves of sin, but that He can draw a straight line with a crooked stick, as the Puritan saying goes. God uses even our sins to further His purposes, without condoning the sin.

Her story also shows us that God cares about injustice, and that his purposes will go forward in spite of men’s plans to the contrary.
This story has always seemed to me like an odd thing to include in Scripture. It brings up uncomfortable topics that are not usually discussed in polite society, let alone in church. Yet I’ve found that as I researched this story I’ve learned to have a new respect for Tamar. She was a brave woman who insisted on her rights. Her actions also brought Judah to the breaking point. He stopped trying to run from his guilty conscience and returned to his family.

Francine Rivers says,

“Judah then moved back to Mesopotamia and renewed his relationship with his father and brothers. When they were confronted by Joseph and he demanded that Benjamin be left as his slave, Judah stepped forward, claimed the disaster upon them was due to their own sins, and offered his life in place of his brother’s. Seeing the change in Judah, Joseph wept and revealed his true identity.”

God used this pagan woman to be included in the purposes of God in bringing the Messiah into the world. Her story offers hope for all those people who feel they’ve suffered injustice. Tamar’s story gains the proper perspective when the light of Jesus Christ shines on it. In spite of everything that can be said against her, she had the honour of becoming a mother in the early history of His earthly family.

References:
Her Name is Woman Book 2 by Gien Karssen pg. 65-75
A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers pg. 14-118

Monday, November 8, 2010

Perseverance

Outside my window...a cool, but sunny day.
I am thinking...that NaNoWriMo is coming along, in spite of the busyness of life. I've managed to write 10, 294 words in seven days. It's a little short of the 11,669 I should have by now, but I'm mostly pleased that I'm learning the discipline of writing every day; due to the quota and deadline. So far it's flowing smoothly, with no real writer's block yet. I've heard the second week is when most people quit. I hope and plan to keep going. Writing historical fiction so quickly has its pros and cons. In favour of it, there is so much real info out there that is often stranger than fiction. Just telling the story as it happened is exciting enough, and then I have to flesh out the characters. I've got unlimited material to work with. On the down side, I want to stay accurate. Although I've done the research previously, I find when I'm writing a particular scene where I have the actual words spoken at my fingertips, I actually quote them. It makes it easier for me to do the dialogue on those parts, but I'm slowed down by typing from my sources. I think when you write historical fiction there's an accountability. I can make up the other stuff, but for things that actually happened, I want to represent it accurately.
I am thankful for...learning to write directly onto my lap tap. I can't say enough how big a deal this is for me. I thought I wouldn't be able to "create" directly on a keyboard. I said, "I'm a pen and paper person. I'm old school. I can't change." But I did. For that, I'm thankful for the NaNo experience.
From the kitchen...Lick's burgers, at home. This is not a day for fussing in the kitchen.
I am wearing...jeans, a purple sweater, my coat (with a poppy).
I am reading...Lonestar Homecoming by Colleen Coble.
I am hoping...to keep up with my NaNo novel, and come up with a plot.
I am hearing...the train on the way to work.
Around the house...I'm painting the guest room. Not because I have extra time, but because we have guests coming in a few weeks. I went shoe shopping with my daughter. She bought a pair of boots, I bought three pairs of shoes. One for you; three for me. Words to live by. (Not really. I don't get the shoe thing. I just buy them when I need to). We visited our other daughter in Hamilton on Saturday. She ran her 10 km race in 1:04, then we went to an antique store. I didn't find a chair, but we got a nice globe on a stand, for the living room. Then we went to a nice bistro, called Koosh which had amazing food. Then we went to her church, Harvest Oakville. Great preaching. I'm glad she chose well.
One of my favourite things...antiquing was fun. It's kind of like a garage sale, but a lot more expensive.
Some plans for the week...work three nights, bake for the students at TBS, finish the second coat in the guest room. Hopefully buy a bed for that room. Speak at the Ladies' Meeting on Saturday, on the Women in the Genealogy of Christ: part one, Tamar. I'm ready, I just have to review it. I also need to finish reading the book of Genesis by Saturday. It was a challenge from the last ladies' meeting, and I like challenges. Sunday, a providential dinner at church.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo

Outside my window...a sunny, but cool day.
I am thinking...the College and Careers group went well on Saturday. There were ten of us, two were missing. We had pizza and I spoke on Radical Hospitality. It was a good discussion.
I am thankful for...yesterday. The induction for my husband and Glen as elders at our church was very good. Carl Muller delivered a sobering message. "When persecution comes, they come for the elders first." Then we had Carl and Heather over for dinner, then our Pastor finished preaching about John Newton, as part of Reformation Sunday. It was also Hallowe'en, but since we don't celebrate it, my husband and I went out after the evening service to a restaurant. We had a good talk. I still like his company.
From the kitchen...Atlantic salmon, broccoli, crudites and dip.
I am wearing...long johns (it's cold), jeans, two sweaters, gloves, scarf, coat and even boots.
I am reading...Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark.
I am hoping...to make some progress on my NaNoWriMo novel, even if I can't keep up with the daily quotas due to my busy life. It seems we have something planned every weekend for the next two months, but I suppose that's what makes a good life. I started my NaNo novel today. I'm supposed to write 50,000 in 30 days. That's 1,667 words a day. Today I wrote 1,743 words in one hour and 35 minutes. It actually flowed smoothly, but then I had heard that would happen at the beginning. I'm even working directly onto my computer, which is new for me, but saves me the step of transcription. The only thing about writing was it cut into my pre-work nap time. That's one of the reasons I'm not sure if I can do it. It was fun to start, though. It's historical fiction set in WW2 Finland. It's a story that's been on my heart for a long while, even more than the romances I've been writing. I had planned to write in in third person, but my protagonist insists on telling her story in first person. These characters can be so bold, sometimes. I guess I have to let her. I may just have to make it first person, from three characters, so I can cover the battles as well. Wish me luck.
I am hearing...the train.
Around the house...our coffee tables for the basement arrived. My husband had just finished assembling my mom's dining table and chairs. He says he is the "putter-together-of-things". We laughed because the diagram for the coffee table assembly had only two steps. The first showed it upside-down, with all the parts separate. The next picture showed it upright, fully assembled. Should be easy, eh?
One of my favourite things...a new writing project. That is sometimes a problem, because instead of finishing, I move on to the romance of the 'new thing'. I really need to finish something.
Some plans for the week...work four flippin' nights. Excuse my language, but some weeks, I'm just not ready for them. Friday night; recover, shop, date night. Saturday, clean while my husband is at the men's breakfast, then head to Hamilton as a family, to visit our eldest. We plan to go to an antique store, hopefully to find a chair for the guest room, then we'll go out for dinner and then to her church. Sunday, church. Not sure yet if we're having anyone over, but I'll plan as if we will.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vote; for the Right to Complain

October 26, 2010.

Outside my window...pouring rain. They described it as a "weather bomb" and it's done a lot of damage. It's dark, windy and raining.
I am thinking...I'm happy to see they sentenced Russell Williams to two life sentences for two murders, but in a case like this, with video evidence of his guilt, I wish Canada had the death penalty. They also stripped him of his rank of Colonel and kicked him out of the military. It's ironic that people were shocked by photos of him in women's clothing. This is the kind of thing (cross-dressing) that they celebrate during Shame Week. Why are they now surprised at the results of such perversions? Don't they know that pornography is addictive and progressive?
I am thankful for...a good report from the GI specialist for my daughter. No diseases or major diet changes.
From the kitchen...beef and vegetable stir fry.
I am wearing...jeans, a black and white striped blouse, a grey sweater.
I am reading...A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin about a WW2 pilot and nurse.
I am hoping...my cousin's five year old daughter gets better. She was hospitalized for a viral infection that caused swelling in her face.
I am hearing...the heavy rains outside the train.
Around the house...I voted yesterday in the Municipal election. I say you've got to vote so you have the right to complain. Everyone I voted for, won. I'm happy about the result in the Toronto mayoralty election as well, although I'm not in that city anymore, except for work. The taxes are too high. I finished painting two pieces of furniture, a table and a dresser, for the guest room. I bought the paint for the walls. Hopefully, I can get to it next week. October is Clergy Appreciation month, so we had our Pastor and his wife over last night for a roast beef dinner and a hot tub. He'll be 70 next month. No official plans to retire, and that's fine with me, but I have a feeling it'll happen suddenly when it does happen, especially with his wife's health concerns.
One of my favourite things...rejoicing with friends when they get good news. One of my friends received word today that her book was going to be published! This was a long time in coming. It encourages me to keep working, although I'm so far from that point. I don't even have a complete first draft of anything!
Some plans for the week...work three nights. I switched Thursday for Monday, so I already had my long weekend. Friday night I'll shop for food, Saturday I'll clean and bake, Saturday evening we have College and Careers at a friend's place, where I'll speak on Radical Hospitality/Planning a Dinner Party. On Sunday, my husband and another man at church will be inducted as elders. My eldest will be coming home for that, but my youngest will miss it since she'll be on a retreat and the date of the service was changed. We'll be having the guest Pastor and his wife over for dinner on Sunday. I was contemplating taking part in NaNoWriMo, which is National Novel Writing Month, in which you write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days in November. My husband doesn't like the idea, since we already see so little of each other. Too bad, because it's too big a challenge to do without the support of your family cheering you on. I already came up with a concept, although I don't have a plot yet. It would have been historical fiction, set in WW2 Finland, during the Winter War. I've already done the research and had about forty scenes in my mind, ready to go. Maybe next year, or some other month, or maybe I'll start anyway, without signing up. No one reads it anyway, it's just a way to motivate you to finish something. They say there's nothing like good old public humiliation to inspire you. Although I should probably just finish one of my other works-in-progress.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee

What is Man?

This novel was gripping. A writer/editor named Clay is approached by a stranger who insists that he must write the man's memoir. He takes different forms every time he comes to Clay to continue his story. He is a demon and he recounts Lucifer's fall, the creation of the world, the creation and fall of man, the flood ,Satan's hatred of God's people throughout history, the account of Job, the coming of Christ; His temptation, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection.

It's an interesting perspective on the old, old story. It reviews Redemptive history from the point of view of the enemy of man. The demons could not believe that God would lavish His love and favour on this mud-man, made of dust, or that He would continue to forgive them when they rebelled against Him. Even the demons were amazed by grace, yet it just made them hate man even more. Too late, they realized that what they thought was their moment of triumph, the crucifixion of the God-man, Jesus, was actually their defeat. It was finished when God paid the price for the creature 's sin.

"But here now, is the crux of it"--he stared at me--"there are those of us damned for one single, failing moment, while you have the favor of an utterly partial God, willing to offer second chances again and again and again."

Beautiful. It made me appreciate my salvation by grace, even more.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Out of the Depths

October 20, 2010.

Outside my window...a pleasant fall day. It's supposed to get colder by the end of the week, though. It may even snow!
I am thinking...so the Chilean miners were rescued this week. It was some good news in a world full of tragedies, disasters, wars and violence. However, did you notice the t-shirt the miners all put on over top of their overalls? Not one reporter commented on the fact that they all wore it, or would say what it said on it. I saw "Jesus" on the sleeve. The front says, "Gracias Senor" or thank you God, on the front. On the back there is a verse from the Psalms about the Lord holding the depths of the earth in his hands. Amazing how they can't bring themselves to acknowledge God at all, even though the miners weren't ashamed to do so. They hugged their President, but they thanked God. I also heard that two of them accepted Christ because of their ordeal.
I am thankful for...good health care. My daughter will see a specialist tomorrow. That's only a week after her second trip to the emerg. He'll probably order more tests, but we should get some answers soon.
From the kitchen...rice, crudites and dip, fish in a cream sauce with peppers.
I am wearing...my uniform. I'm at work.
I am reading...The Crimson Cipher by Susan Page Davis, about code breakers during WW one. I like it. They say it's pre WW1, although it's 1915. I find it funny, though, that in books written by Americans, they often talk about the dates of the war only in terms of when the U.S. was in it. Ask most Americans the dates of WW2, and they'd say 1942-1945 instead of 1939-1945. The same is true for WW1.
I am hoping...my daughter's appointment goes well tomorrow.
I am hearing...a quiet unit.
Around the house...We bought some coffee tables for the basement. My mom bought herself a couch and kitchen set for her apartment. My husband cancelled his fishing trip last weekend, mostly out of concern for our daughter, who ended up in emerg twice last week with severe abdominal pain. I can't say I'm sad he stayed home. I miss him when he's gone. I'm so needy, I know. We cleaned out a storage closet. He's better at that than I am. I would tend to hoard, while he is ruthless. Everything out. Saturday there was a ladies' meeting at church. I was in the nursery on Sunday morning. All those screaming kids reminded me why those days are behind me. I have no patience. I also picked up a memory stick from a friend who has typed all my stories into it, so now they're in electronic format. I just have to train myself to write on the computer, instead of on paper, which is my preference. I'm old school, I guess. I've been searching for ideas for an amuse bouche to serve at an upcoming dinner party. It's the one-bite teaser you serve before appetizers. There are many recipes and pictures out there. I tested one the other day. I'll post the picture. It's a cherry tomato on a basil leaf, with shaved Parmesan. It packs a kick, so one is enough. I also heat the tomato first. It's an option, but I'll test a few more. It will have to go with whatever my menu is, which I haven't decided on yet.
One of my favourite things...good books. I stopped at the Christian bookstore to get some story books for the nursery at church, and I scored myself four books. I know, I have a problem.
Some plans for the week...work three nights. Clean and cook. Church on Sunday.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

National Daughter's Week



Photocredit: Sarah West

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Oct. 12, 2010.

Outside my window...a sunny fall day. The leaves on the red maples on our street are a brilliant red, but will be gone within two weeks. Then it will be a dismal winter until the Spring.
I am thinking...it's sad how so many people think their baptism is an end instead of a beginning. I've seen it too many times. They may not say it, but it's like they feel they've gotten their ticket to heaven, and now they can live as they like. It's sad, really.
I am thankful for...healthy children. On Thanksgiving morning, yesterday, my youngest daughter (18), woke up with severe abdominal pain and nausea. My husband took her to emerg and was with her there until 7 p.m. They did bloodwork, an x-ray, and an ultrasound, suspecting appendicitis. It was five hours before they started an i.v. and gave her morphine. The tests were inconclusive, and they sent her home once her pain was under control. She was most disappointed that she couldn't eat. I had stayed behind to finish the prep. We had 16 people over for dinner. It was difficult because I was so distracted, worrying about her, but it turned out well. I'm thankful for free, reliable health care.
From the kitchen...leftovers. Yesterday we had stuffed mushroom caps, apricot brie and crackers, turkey, stuffing, gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, whole roasted lamb, curried goat, rice and peas, yellow and green beans, salad, honey'd root vegetables, ham, blueberry pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate mousse. It was delish! We'll be eating leftovers for days, which is fine with me.
I am wearing...purple yoga pants, a purple top, a grey sweater and a black windbreaker.
I am reading...Demon: a Memoir, by Tosca Lee. I'm loving it. It's along the lines of Screwtape Letters and is an interesting perspective on the old, old story. I'll post a review when I'm done. This past week I also read The Guardians by Jack Cavanaugh and The Dawn of Heaven Breaks, by Sharon James, about contemplating eternity.
I am hoping...to find the words to say to a relative I'm concerned about.
I am hearing...the train.
Around the house...we managed to buy a few decorative pieces for the basement family room, so it's a start. Also my daughter moved over into the other room that she painted and the guest room is now empty, waiting for me to decide on a colour scheme so I can paint it. My mom is settled into her place downstairs but needs to buy more furniture. On Saturday, we had family photos done by Sarah West. I've only seen a few of them, so far. I also launched the facebook page for our church. If you're on facebook, search for Faith Baptist Church, Scarborough.
One of my favourite things...GOOD leftovers.
Some plans for the week...work three nights. I'll have a student with me on Wednesday and Thursday night. I'll be a fishing widow this weekend, since my husband will be going to Manitoulin for a fishing trip with our Finnish guy friends from Sault Ste. Marie. I'll be lonely. :( There's a ladies' meeting at church on Saturday morning, then I'm going shopping with my youngest daughter. Church on Sunday.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Full Life

Oct. 4, 2010.

Outside my window...a cool, rainy day. The leaves are changing. I know it looks nice, but I'm a summer girl.
I am thinking...so all my worrying was for nothing. My MRI was "normal for my age", whatever that means, and my audiology test was also within normal range. I've also noticed my hearing is improved and my headaches are gone. It seems to have been affected only as long as the reno was going on. I didn't think I was stressed, but I seem to have internalized it. I tend to do that, then I'm still surprised when I get heart palpitations or headaches. So I'm NOT dying of some dread disease, that I know of.
I am thankful for...good friends. We had a couple visiting from out of town this weekend. They're so easy-going. We ate in, we ate out, we went in the hot tub and sauna, we walked, we watched a movie, we laughed at things on youtube, went to church, had another meal together, and said our good-byes.
From the kitchen...Atlantic salmon, salad, and corn on the cob (just a little bit).
I am wearing...jeans, a purple sweater, and a warm fall jacket.
I am reading...The Peacemakers by Jack Cavanaugh, set in the 1960's.
I am hoping...to get through another week of four nights. I'm so tired.
I am hearing...the train.
Around the house...we'll have a full house this weekend. Both girls will be home. We're hosting 16 family members for Thanksgiving dinner on Monday.
One of my favourite things...finding an author I like and then reading everything they wrote. I'm a faithful reader.
Some plans for the week...work four nights, date night, help my daughter paint her room, shop for home furnishings, cook, clean, shop, bake and then entertain family. Oh, and I need to make a harvest display for church. We give the food away to a needy family afterwards.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Polygamy...Really?

September 27, 2010.

Outside my window...a rainy day.
I am thinking...didn't I say that the next thing to be promoted as normal would be polygamy? I did, when they brought in 'gay marriage'. Now there's a show on TLC called Sister Wives, where a man married three sisters and had many children with them. This incestuous and polygamous situation is being presented as normal, so people will get used to the idea. Soon you'll hear, 'It's okay, as long as they love each other.' Then anyone who speaks against it will be labelled as an intolerant, hateful bigot. I'm sure they'll come up with a a name for it,too, like they did with homophobia, as if we're the ones with the problem. Next it will be pedophilia that will be promoted. I've already heard an 'expert' on the news say that it can't be treated because it's a sexual orientation. I couldn't believe they didn't ask the obvious questions. "Will their rights be protected so they can't be discriminated against because of sexual orientation?" "Can they work in daycares and schools?" "Can they adopt children?" Mark my words. It's next.
I am thankful for...an opportunity to see old friends again. We had a nice surprise on the weekend. A friend from twenty years ago was visiting from France. We originally met when she was doing her M. Div. at TBS. She used to play the piano for us at church. We saw her a few times over the years. She's currently working on her PhD in music. She's an amazing woman, totally dedicated to God. It's great to have the type of friendship where you can just pick up where you left off.
From the kitchen...roast chicken and steamed asparagus. I've noticed a difference in just one week on this diet.
I am wearing...jeans, a white t-shirt, a red hoodie and my beige windbreaker.
I am reading...Lonestar Secrets by Colleen Coble.
I am hoping...that one day my husband may have a slightly different job with the city. It seems his bosses are making a position with him in mind. He wouldn't have the stresses of day-to-day operations or the responsibilities of so many staff.
I am hearing...the train.
Around the house...my husband was at an ordination this past weekend. I would have liked to go. I enjoy those things. Instead I went shopping with my youngest on Friday and cleaned all day Saturday. I even washed windows, and was reminded that I didn't care for heights. My mom is still getting settled into her place in the basement. I bought paint for my eldest daughter's room. Now I need to find time to paint. They we have a few rooms to redecorate.
One of my favourite things...my commute. Generally stress-free and comfortable. So nice to not have to fight traffic.
Some plans for the week...work four nights. Shop and clean for out of town guests arriving on Saturday. My husband won't be available to help prep due to meetings, so I'm a little stressed about that.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another Jonah Moment

September 21, 2010.

Outside my window...a sunny, fall day with a cool breeze. The leaves are already beginning to change.
I am thinking...it's funny that when they introduced the Ladies' meetings, I specifically didn't go to the first one, because I didn't want to get 'roped in' to leading it. Then I offered to do a class, and then another. Now, I'm going to do a five part series on the women in the genealogy of Christ. Funny, eh? I think that was another Jonah moment. (See My Jonah Moment under the Faith section).I plan to go in one direction, and God makes me go in the other, and he makes me willing to do it. Anyway, I'm really excited about this series. I've been researching and have got Tamar done, and part of Rahab. I don't start till November so I should have plenty of time. I am also surprised because if I could pick and choose which of the women to study, I would have probably left Tamar out. I always found that story kind of disturbing and awkward, and couldn't imagine talking about the details of it in church, or finding anything praiseworthy in her actions. Which just goes to show why we need to study these things. I have a whole new appreciation for her, now. I'll post the messages on my blog once I'm done. I think you'll be surprised, too.
I am thankful for...the renovation finally being done. It has taken two months. Our contractor did a great job. And yes, a Jamaican CAN build a Finnish sauna. We tested it for the first time last night and it was perfect. I've never lived in a house with a sauna in it. Now I feel like a real Finn.
From the kitchen...broccoli and chicken sautee, salad. We started back on the same lower carb diet that worked for me last year. My husband and I have both gained weight over the summer. We never felt as healthy as we did when we were eating that way. It also helps that he and my daughters are happy to eat that way, and that my mom is settled into her apartment downstairs. She tended to cook rather heavy meals.
I am wearing...jeans and an olive green sweater, and a beige windbreaker.
I am reading...A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers, in preparation for my messages.
I am hoping...God keeps working on my Mom's heart. The other day she said she started to pray for our Pastor's wife, after her surgery, and she said, "I know you don't know me..." and then started to cry. I told her to keep talking to Him and she'd get to know Him and He'd get to know her. She said, "I've done so many things." She often says that, feeling she's too bad to be saved. I told her we all have a before and after story. I've known people who were alcoholics, drug addicts, adulterers, bank robbers...to which she then said, "I've never killed anyone." Which then takes her to her other excuse, which is that she's not as bad as other people, so she doesn't need to be saved. She's so close to the Kingdom, but Satan isn't letting go without a fight. Please pray for her if you think of it. Her name is Leena.
I am hearing...the train.
Around the house...I was sick with a cold since last Thursday. I missed a night of work. Also, this weekend we had planned to clean and organize the basement since my Mom moved her stuff downstairs, but I had no energy. Now her upstairs room will be painted and my eldest will move there, because it faces south and has a better view than the brick wall of our neighbour's house. That room will become a guest room and we'll re-furnish the office are in the upstairs hallway as a writing nook for me. Our girls are busy with school. My eldest has her placement working with people who have mental illness and abuse issues. She likes it. My Mom loves her place. She hugged me and cried, saying we take such good care of her.
One of my favourite things...having a sauna in my house. We'll use it twice a week.
Some plans for the week...work three nights, shop for a tv for downstairs, a mini-fridge, floor coverings, a coffee table and other furnishings, and some fixtures for my Mom's bathroom. My husband has church business out of town, so I may purchase the paint for my daughter's room and get it started if I have time this weekend. Church on Sunday; I'm in the nursery. Not my favourite thing to do, but I'd better be careful or that'll turn into another Jonah moment.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What's Your Tag?

Whether it's good to do this or not, I find that the longer you know someone, eventually it becomes easier to add a personality tag next to their name. Of course, you wouldn't say it out loud, but it's the characteristic that tends to define a person overall. It may not be fair. I've had a label on someone that I wouldn't give to them today, because they've grown and matured. But these tags do come from somewhere.

For example, there's a lady at our church. I would see her name and think, 'faithful prayer warrior' beside it. That's how I see her overall. Some tags aren't so flattering: fair weather friends, uncommitted, argumentative. You get the idea.

The thing I was thinking about (and I'm not sure i want to hear the answer to this), is, 'What's my tag?' What's the phrase or sentence that appears beside my name when people think of me? I ask that because we don't often have insight into our own faults and shortcomings, nor our attributes. Would I have an attribute or a shortcoming after my name? After a post like this, it may well be, judgmental.

As I said, I don't want to know. That would require soul-searching and humility to change, if it's something negative.

The idea of a tag is not original to me. God used it when he spoke about Job to Satan. He said, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."
Praise indeed.

What's your tag?

Nonsense begets Nonsense


September 13, 2010.

Outside my window...a refreshing fall day. Sunny after the overnight rain. I went to Curves and then walked home.
I am thinking...while I disagree with the proposed Qu-ran burning this past weekend, I think some churches went overboard by planning to read portions of the Qu-ran in their church service. They've just shown what they really believe and have undermined the authority of Scripture. The original stunt was just that, and it was wrong because we are not to offend for the sake of offending, but if someone is offended by the gospel, that we'll bear. Both acts are non-sensical and neither one promotes the gospel, but instead gives the enemies of the gospel more ammunition. It's one thing for this pastor to risk his own life because of his actions, it's another to do something that will endanger fellow believers in countries where they are the minority. It's true that they don't need an excuse, but they'll still jump on this as an example of how Muslims are victims, which they're not.
I am thankful for...my Mom's safe return from Finland and the uncomplicated surgery of our Pastor's wife.
From the kitchen...chicken souvlaki, rice and baby carrots.
I am wearing...jeans, a purple long-sleeved top, and a beige jacket.
I am reading...Playing God by Michelle McKinney Hammond.
I am hoping...that we will have a smooth transition to move my Mom's stuff downstairs. They're almost done and we started cleaning up yesterday.
I am hearing...the ticking clock. I went to the audiology appointment about my hearing loss. They said my hearing was within normal range. Maybe so, but it may have been exceptional before. There's a definite change, my family notices it, too. My husband thinks it's stress. I've had dull headaches and hearing loss for two months, which is as long as the reno has been going on. I don't feel like I'm under stress, but then I internalize it and maybe that's all there is. Anyway, I have an MRI of the brain on Saturday morning, so they can tell me if there's any concern there.
Around the house...we had the garage doors, front door and pillars painted. The doors are a greyish blue and the pillars are beige. I like it. Our daughters are getting into the routine of university life.
One of my favourite things...the smell of cedar. When the electrician came this weekend to set up the sauna heater, he tested it. We could smell the cedar upstairs. Lovely.
Some plans for the week...work three nights, work out three times, clean the basement, move my Mom in, sort through all the junk in storage, attend the Providential dinner at church.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labour Day Weekend


Sept. 6, 2010.

Outside my window...a cool, grey, rainy day. Summer's over, it seems.
I am thinking...a nurse went missing in Orangeville. They found remains today. So sad, obviously a violent death. People in small towns don't seem to look their doors, even at night.
I am thankful for...my job. It's Labour Day, and while I'm in a union only by default, I do appreciate my job. It pays well and I love going there.
From the kitchen...ribs, chicken, fettuccine Alfredo, cold rice salad, corn on the cob, carrots, corn bread with apple butter, and peach pie.
I am wearing...purple workout pants, a grey shirt and sweater.
I am reading...The Buck Stops Here by Mindy Starns Clark. It's the fifth in a series. I love her mysteries.
I am hoping...to get our church's facebook page up and running this week.
I am hearing...a t.v. show about old movies. Hundreds of channels and nothing on. We watched Date Night the other day. It had potential as a concept, but just ended up being crude.
Around the house...the family room in the basement was repainted, and looks much better. We walked around the neighbourhood today to choose a new colour for our front door and garage doors. They need repainting. We've been in the hot tub a few times this weekend, including this morning, to drink our coffee in the rain.
One of my favourite things...a day when we don't have to do anything.
Some plans for the week...both girls start university this week. They grew up so fast. My daughter's friend Sarah is here for a few days. I'm trying to organize our fall. There are fishing trips, friends coming to visit, conferences, Thanksgiving dinner to host, moving my mom into the basement, College and Careers meeting, Ladies' Meeting, apple picking and a dinner party. I'm working three nights, then I have my audiology appointment. Our Pastor's wife has her surgery this week, so I'll make a meal for them. My mom returns from Finland on Thursday.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Outlive Your Life

"You want to do good. You want your life to matter. You want to live in such a way that the world will be glad you did."

-Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado-

Monday, August 30, 2010

R.I.P. Oleks

August 30, 2010.

Outside my window...hot, hazy and humid all week.
I am thinking...my daughter's goldfish, Oleksandr died this week. We've had him 2-1/2 years. She had to bring him up to work with her while we were on vacation. I think he met with foul play from one of the campers, but we can't be sure. Poor Oleks. He loved me best; I could see it in his eyes.
I am thankful for...the past week at the Carey Conference. Such good preaching.
From the kitchen...meatballs, and yep, corn on the cob.
I am wearing...beige long shorts, and a cream and taupe top.
I am reading...A Quarter for a Kiss by Mindy Starns Clark.
I am hoping...to get some answers to my health concerns, this month. I have a brain MRI on Sept. 18th and an audiology appointment on Sept. 10th Within the last month or so, I've noticed a big change in my hearing. It seems everyone is speaking so quietly. I mis-hear what people say or don't hear them at all. It's noticeable to my family. It concerns me because it seems so sudden. I haven't had any exposure to loud noises. My grandmother was very hard of hearing. I feel I'm too young to be losing my hearing already. I also can't read lips, so I'd be lost. Of course, working where I do, I've already imagined the worst case scenario, which would be some kind of tumour. I guess the MRI would show that. My husband says to hold off burying myself until I know for sure. He's a patient man, isn't he?
I am hearing...the train.
Around the house...my mom's still in Finland for two weeks. Our girls are finished work and are home until school starts. We returned from vacation to a freshly painted basement. The main room is too yellow, so we'll have to have that re-painted. We were without our t.v. for two weeks, because the bulb blew. It's a rear-projection big screen. We had anticipated it, and ordered a spare bulb before World Cup, in case it happened then. It turned out to be a dud. We got the replacement bulb today.
One of my favourite things...having the speaker over for a meal at the Carey. It's nice to get to know them better.
Some plans for the week...my eleven days off are over. Working four nights. The girls are having friends over this week, even though dry-wall dust coats everything. My youngest is at the EX today. My husband and I were at a soccer game on Saturday, next to the CNE. The last time we were at the EX was on our first date 26 years ago. When our kids were little, we couldn't afford to go, and when they were older, they went with friends. I'm planning a facebook page for our church as a supplement to the web page. It's more accessible to the members.