Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A weekend in the kitchen

This has been a very kitchen-y weekend. Our church’s missions conference just ended last night, and it seems I spent a great deal of time either cooking in my own kitchen or cleaning up in the church kitchen.

During our missions conference, we have two events involving food. On Saturday evening before that service, we traditionally have an international covered dish supper. And on Sunday night following the service, we plan a “pie fellowship” -- a time when everyone brings pies to share.

In addition, we were taking a missionary family out for Sunday lunch and bringing them back to our home for the afternoon and for dessert. So a good deal of cooking and baking was in order.

On Saturday, I made brownies for our Sunday dessert. I also made some microwave dulce de leche to use in two banoffee pies for the pie fellowship. (For those who are not familiar with banoffee pie, it’s a British dessert made with bananas and a caramel filling in a graham cracker crust, topped with whipped cream. This was the first time I had tried this and it came out very good.) For the international meal, I fixed some Indian-style vegetables, a Tex-Mex green bean salad, and a British apple crumble. In the freezer, I had stashed several foil-wrapped packages of Roti -- chicken & potato filled wraps seasoned with lots of celery, garlic, and curry -- to take as my main dish. One of my daughters showed me how to make this Indian treat, having learned the recipe and technique from a friend in Antigua. The recipe made a ton and so I froze a bunch with the international supper in mind. I was pleasantly surprised that the potatoes did not turn at all mushy in the freezer!

On Sunday, we took our friends out to a Chinese restaurant, then brought them home with us and had brownies with ice cream & (homemade!) hot fudge sauce later in the afternoon. I whipped the cream and topped my pies and took them to the pie fellowship, where they were very well received. Came home after the evening service and washed the dishes... and that wraps up my weekend cooking adventures.

Monday, March 20, 2006

More journal entries...

Lovely graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
Here are some more random entries from my journal.

September 10, 2002
“I’m thankful for the Bible studies I’ve felt led to do on my own in recent years. Today I had a problem with something I knew I should handle differently. I saw a definite tendency toward impatience with the situation. What a blessing to be able to turn back to my study notes on the fruit of the Spirit and review patience! And what an encouragement to face, in my prayer journal, that impatience is one of my character flaws and to note down helpful verses and spend time talking with the Lord about it!
“Another encouragement in my walk with God is how He will lay specific things on my heart to pray about. This has been the case for quite awhile, but recently I’ve been seeing it with an almost startling clarity: The Lord wants me to pray for this!”

Some thoughts on patience:

“It is the quality of putting up with other people, even when... sorely tried.” -- Alan Cole

“If God had been a man, He would have wiped out this world long ago, but He has that patience which bears with all of our sinning and will not cast us off. [Therefore] in our dealings with our fellow men, we must reproduce this loving, forbearing, forgiving, patient attitude of God.” -- William Barclay

September 13, 2002

“I’ve been studying 2 Kings 4:1-7 for my Sunday School lesson -- the story of the impoverished widow of one of the godly prophets. One of her creditors was threatening to take her two sons as slaves. The only thing of value she had in her house was a pot of oil. The prophet Elisha instructed her to borrow jars from her neighbors and to fill the jars from her pot of oil. The oil did not run out -- there was enough to fill every jar she had borrowed. She was then able to sell the oil to pay her debt and support her family.
William MacDonald, writing in Believer’s Bible Commentary, says: ‘This event illustrates grace for the debtor, enough to meet present needs and to provide for future sustenance. God’s grace to needy sinners sets us free from debt and slavery and provides all we need for a new life.’
What a marvelous illustration of grace this story is!

October 15, 2002

“A cold, crisp, sunny October morning... a morning with the bright color and crisp tang of an autumn apple! How it conjures up memories of going to Rockledge Orchard to buy apples in the autumns of my childhood. The big barn would be cool and dim and completely permeated with the wonderful fragrance of apples from the wooden boxes of fruit stacked everywhere.”

July 5, 2004

“Camping! What a blessing it is to just come to a beautiful part of God’s creation and be away from the entire busyness of our everyday life. We love tenting and have for years. I just love the incense of campfire smoke wafting through the air! I love to hear families playing board or card games together at their picnic tables in the evenings. And I especially love the scent of frying bacon or sausages in the early mornings.”

While we were camping, I set aside some time to do some journaling. I had been reading a book that posed some really challenging questions, and thought this quiet time might help me think through and answer them. One of the questions was:

“If you were to die tomorrow, what would you want people to remember about you?”
Here’s what I came up with:

“I think first and foremost I would pray to be remembered as a godly woman. That’s the bottom line. I would also like to be remembered as someone who encouraged other believers and helped them to grow. Along with that -- and I believe this is all part and parcel of being a godly woman -- I would like to be remembered as an older woman who was faithful in teaching the younger ones. I would like to be remembered as one who used her spiritual gifts and God-given talents for His glory. I would like to be remembered as a good mother and grandmother who was faithful in encouraging and praying for her children and grandchildren and who was a good example to them.”

These are lofty goals and the rest of my life doesn’t seem enough time to come close to achieving them. But I know God would have me to aim at these goals.

Another question was this: “What do you feel most passionate about?”

My reply:

“Hmmm... I guess probably the one topic (which encompasses a lot of others) that really is a passion for me -- maybe even a hobbyhorse at times -- is Christian growth and the necessity for it. Our churches are filled with immature Christians. I heard once at a seminar that the average church attender, maybe even the average church member, is ‘like a baby sucking on a bottle”. And from what I have seen over the years I believe this to be true.

“No, I haven’t ‘arrived’ in my Christian growth, either. That doesn’t happen. I’m still growing in the Lord myself, and will be until I see Him. But I find it truly distressing how few believers are making any real attempt to grow. Equally distressing is the fact that many churches either ignore the need for solid teaching or just give people what they want to hear.  Sure, it’s vital for people to be saved, but it’s every bit as important for them to grow. So a passion of mine is definitely helping that to happen.”

January 10, 2005

I’ve been doing the study God’s Wisdom for a Woman’s Life by Elizabeth George. The particular chapter I was studying today was about our priorities. I was challenged by these words from the author:

“The more you seek a heart of wisdom by focusing on God’s priorities for you and practice those priorities, the more you will eventually live by them.”

To me, this is sort of like the saying, “Use it -- or lose it!” It’s like the “muscle tone” of wisdom. If we don’t use wisdom, it will slip away. I think one important thing I can do is to consciously pray each day for wisdom and right priorities.