Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Shall We Blanch? (1, 2, 3)

What would summer be without the ritual of putting up sweet corn? Less sticky, for sure. Having yummy corn all year (that still has all of the flavor in it) is worth the work though.

 From this (142 ears)...

 To this...

To this (18 fat quarts).

It irritates me that our society has vilified sweet corn to such a degree. So much of the world depends on corn and its cousins as a staple for life. Are we so much better than them that we can turn our noses up at the gift that God's providence has placed so ready to hand? I choose gratitude instead.

Of course we're having corn for supper! How silly of you to ask!

Summer Corn Chowder (recipe compliments of Midwest Living)

4 ears fresh corn (or 10 ounces frozen--about 2 cups)
14 oz can veg broth (I'll probably use chicken)
10 oz frozen green peas (or 12 oz edamame, lima beans, or 2 large bell peppers)
1 large onion, chopped
2 t fresh marjoram or oregano (or 3/4 t dried)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 can cream style corn
1 c. cubed ham
2/3 c evaporated milk
1 t worchestershire sauce
fresh marjoram or oregano for garnish

My corn is already cooked and removed from the cob, so I'm deviating from the recipe and sauteing the onion in a little olive oil. Then I'll add all the other ingredients and simmer about 10-15 minutes. If you want the full recipe, it's available in the July/August 2011 issue of Midwest Living). My hands are too sore to type all of it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Not So Mini

Early this spring, the girls and I designed and put together two miniature gardens. This isn't new to some of you, but for the rest, here is the short version.

M wanted a Fairy Garden, batted her eyes at Grandpa and obtained a used tractor tire. We aren't restricted by space, so while the scale is small, the overall gardens aren't so much. Some paint, a cubic yard of soil and one very tired Mommy later, we were planting. We chose a Fairy Tale theme for her fairy garden, and the three fairies are the story tellers. Many of the stations can be used to tell more than one story, so the girls can be creative as they play.

Not wanting to leave J out, but knowing that she doesn't want to have anything to do with fairies, we came up with the brilliant plan to create a miniature garden based on the clan territories of the cats in the Warriors book series by Erin Hunter (who is really 4 different people). Confused? Well, nevermind. It's plants and little cats. That's all you need to know.

Being the cheapskate that I am, we found ways to make more of the accesories for the gardens ourselves. Leftover cage wire is good for all sorts of things!
I managed to make mushrooms, but I don't think I have a future in sculpting.

I need to take another picture now that the plants have filled in the extra space. In spite of the drought, we've only lost one. The rest are overtaking the paths.
I wanted to do a Peter Rabbit-ish themed mini garden, but ran out of energy. Maybe next year.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Significant Numbers

Our lives are full of numbers. They are on our driver's license, library card and mailbox. The scale, alarm clock, speedometer and caller ID all reflect numbers that we may or may not want to see. Statistics, account balances, PINs...the list goes on. Numbers are inescapable (as my math begrudging daughters will attest).

Earlier this year I read David Platt's Radical. Which is exactly what it says--a book that suggests a radical way of "taking back your faith from the American Dream". In short, it proposes a way of focusing on a Biblical view of the world in which the Church demonstrates the values of God's Kingdom rather than those of the materialistic society around us. Toward the end of the book, a one year Radical Experiment was suggested . The items that stand out (without looking them up) are:
  1. Read the whole Bible.
  2. Pray for the whole world. I've prayed for the world, but usually in one lump sum. Platt recommends resources like Operation World and the Joshua Project. Both are organizations that break the world population down into specific people groups (by language, country, etc--these are people who take numbers to a whole new level), and outline methods for praying for the unreached people groups across the globe, ideally in a year's time.
  3. Commit yourself to the local church (community).
  4. Sacrifice financially for a specific purpose.
  5. Sacrifice your time outside your normal circle of influence (comfort zone). I think 2% was recommended, which works out to about 2 weeks.
While I am not going to review the book here, I will state that anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ should probably read it. It still remains to be seen where God will lead me because of its influence.
As I began praying, and thinking in a different way, a new kind of number surfaced. Untold numbers of people without food, clean water, shelter and the good news of Jesus Christ. Voiceless people in countless numbers who are victims of exploitation, trafficking, and abuse. The mind and heart quickly go numb at the scope of it all.
It's easy to become overwhelmed by the volume of people who need help and hope. But I'm reminded of the story of the lad walking the beach and throwing starfish back into the water because it mattered to the few he could save. Until very recently, I believed the story was just one of those anecdotes that gets passed around, used in sermons, and bloats with retelling. I now have a source to track down and may post about it later.
The point of the story is that no one can save every one, but that isn't a valid excuse not to try to help any at all. We can make a difference to a few, or even just one.

And so, on June 5th, a new number became significant in my life. It's a seven digit number that changed the way I look at everything. And I mean everything. It's my sponsor number through Compassion International.
In June, the rabbits of Leaning Tree Acres and I began sponsoring 9 year old Edwin in Peru. (The humor of using profit from rabbit reproduction to assist in the reproduction of the gospel is not lost on me.) We are also corresponding with Aseet in Bangladesh and Kwaku in Ghana, and are hoping to take on a little girl in the near future.
I never dreamed the effect that sponsoring would have on me. In one short month, I have gone from knowing vaguely that poverty is a problem to being aware every waking moment that these boys' lives are at stake. Disease, flooding, drought, and food shortage are daily issues that control their lives. I have the nerve to get upset when my internet isn't working fast enough. The contrast makes me ashamed. And it should.
I have begun evaluating every bite I take and every purchase I make, wondering what I can do to consume less and share more.
David Platt asks in his book, "What would it take?" The question does not have a designated direction. You are supposed to think of what you'd like to see accomplished (with what you've already read in the book in mind), and then ask what it would take to see that goal reached.
Well, as of this morning, there are 2133 children on the Compassion International site that are needing sponsors. And that is just one site of many.
What would it take to see that page empty?
Zero children in need would be a significant number, indeed.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Take a good look at the beautiful picture of Mt Rainier (more on that later). Breathe deep. Can you smell the crisp air? It has just a touch of Christmas in it. There is a Swainson's Thrush singing nearby. Ahhhh....
Now, does everybody have their calm face on? Good.

A fairly significant change is coming to this blog. Up to this point, I have tried to keep everything separate--a cubby hole for writing, a cubby hole for bunnies, a cubby hole for all things religious, and a cubby hole for everything else (here).
Except my faith isn't a cubby hole. It's the desk.
Even though I often fail, everything in my life is profoundly affected by what I believe about Jesus Christ. I cannot continue to pretend otherwise out of fear that I might offend someone. So this is fair warning. Proverbs 27:6 says "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy." If we have bad breath, we want someone to offer a piece of gum to us. If we're dragging TP behind us, we want someone to step on it to save us from embarrassment. How much more then should we desire words of truth that lead to life and salvation?

Will there still be recipes, crafts, and other nonsense that keeps us from our chores? You bet.
Will there be bunnies? Yes, but only when I can't help myself. I plan to keep my business site separate still.
In addition, book reviews, short stories and bad poetry will also be found here instead of Sit, Stay, Write!
And finally there will be such topics as prayer, grace, church, sin, forgiveness, various charities and the like.
In other words, the only thing I'm avoiding from this point forward is Laundry.

I would love it if you would stay.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Oooo, Look What I Found!

A nearly abandoned blog...just sitting here...waiting...all alone in the darkness of cyberspace...hoping to be loved again....

Stay tuned.