Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A tip for bread-machine baking.

One good thing to keep in mind with any recipe, is to make sure that the cord to your bread machine is not anywhere near a burner on the stove which happened to be on high just before your sister moved the pot off of it. If you're not careful, the cord will end up on the burner and the insulation around the wires will begin to melt off onto the stovetop. If this happens, remain calm, turn off the machine and unplug it. Carefully clean the melted rubber off the stove as best you can while it's hot. When you can't get any more off because it's too hot to scrub, run down to the basement and get the electrical tape. Wrap approximately 3 yards of tape around the 3 inches of cord that got burned. (It's too bad it's black on your white cord; it can't be helped. That is, if you want to finish this loaf tonight. I'm sure they sell white tape somewhere, but you'll just have to make do.) Remove the pan of dough from the machine, and set it on the stove (not on any hot burners) and cover it to keep the dough warm. Then plug the machine back in and let the cycle run through as many minutes as it had before the cord burned. Then wait for an appropriate pause so you can re-insert the pan of dough to let it finish. Keep a watch for any smoky smells. If you notice something, check it out, but it's probably just flour that got spewed over onto the elements underneath. No problem. Tomorrow when you're sufficiently rested and the stove is sufficiently cooled from today's fiasco, figure out some way to get the last bits of melted cord insulation off the stovetop, preferably without having to resort to turning the stove on to burn it off. Because that would stink. Literally.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Prayer Request

Hey y'all, I just wanted to ask everyone to be praying for a very good friend of mine. She has some perplexing health issues the doctors are trying to figure out. She's had joint pain and swelling, and some preliminary blood tests have shown her liver enzymes to be 11 times higher than normal-- normal range being up to 40; her's are at 444... We're still waiting to hear back from some other tests, but just keep her in your prayers, that if the Lord wills it, she will be healed from these issues, or if it would bring Him most glory for her to suffer with them, that He will give us all grace to bear it patiently.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Let Them Sing Psalms!

I long for the ploughboy to sing them to himself as he follows the plow, the weaver to hum them to the tune of his shuttle, the traveler to beguile with them the dullness of his journey. ~Erasmus
I happen to love good hyms. John Newton's are my special favorites. But there is something about psalm-singing that tops even Watts, Bonar, and Newton. Maybe it is the knowledge that these psalms have been sung for millenia by people who love the Lord. The singing of psalms has always been a tool among His people used for comfort, blessing, and meditation.

There is a certain unity among the Lord's people to be felt when you sing the scriptures. True, our rhyme and meter of our psalters are of English-speaking man's invention, but the spirit of the words is a common thread that binds Christians and Messianic Jews through the ages to the living and inspired Word of God.

The French Huguenots found the Psalter to be an invaluable aid for keeping up their courage and strength in the midst of persecution. It was said by a Catholic bishop of the time that, "To know these Psalms by heart is, among the Huguenots, a sign of the communion to which they belong; and in the towns in which they are most numerous the airs may be heard coming from the mouths of artisans, and, in the country, from those of tillers of soil."

How wonderful it would be to dispel the worldly pollution in our homes, cities, and countrysides by the cheerful uplifting of our voices in psalm tunes! Wouldn't it be nice to take a stroll down your street and listen as your neighbors sang to the Lord with joy in their hearts? Perhaps though, it is your neighbors who need to hear your voice singing praises to the God of heaven and earth. What a witness this would be!

Think with me how much good is ours to accomplish by psalm-singing. Not only are we able to alleviate some of the cares of our day by getting our thoughts back onto the law of the Lord (Psalm 1:2), but as we sing audibly, others who could be struggling with their own troubles may hear our words and be comforted by them.

The apostle Paul encourages us to "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord." (Colossians 3:16) Singing the psalter is quite helpful for memorizing the Word and allowing it to dwell in your hearts. Many times in my Bible reading, when I come to a psalm I have sung before, I hear the tune coming to mind as I read over the passage. Then, instead of going away a forgetful hearer, the psalm is still with me in song as I go on with the business of the day.

What a treasure we have in our psalters! There was a time, before the Reformation (as many of you know), when the entire Word of God was kept from the common people. But did you remember that congregations of those days were only permitted to listen as members of the clergy sang chants in a language unfamiliar to all but those who sang it? It was not until the days of John Calvin that the scriptures were translated into singable verses with equally singable melodies and delivered into the hands and hearts of lay people. Then even children could have access to the psalms we still sing today.

How thankful we should be to have this continuing heritage of psalm-singing! We have such easy access to the Word of God, not just on paper, but set to music as well! I wonder if we recognize how blessed we are?

Here are a few sites you may wish to visit:

Sermonaudio.com Psalter has metrical versions of the Psalms, and piano accompaniment to some of them.

Killearn Free Church of Scotland has mp3s you can download for free. Beautiful a capella men's voices-- with a Scottish accent too! I made myself a CD of these guys.

I have this CD by the Scottish Philharmonic Singers. Very good.

Here is a page about the French/Genevan Psalter. Scroll down to view the psalms they have available.

Do you have any favorite psalm CDs? Does your church use a psalter? Which is your favorite psalm? Mine is 147.

This post is a part of the Reformation Day Symposium on Tim Challies's blog.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Faithful in that which is least

"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much." Luke 16:10a

As you can see, I'm back on blogger (for now)! 2007 has been a year of incredible busyness and change for me, but through it all I have had an amazing sense of God's direction and provision. My computer time has been extremely limited this year, which is why my blog has taken a back seat. Church work, e-mails, and more important online duties have had to come before blogging, so sorry y'all! It's nothing personal! I think about all of you often, and I try to check up on you when I get the chance. But I don't see that I will be having tons of regular time for blogging in the near future, so I just wanted to let you know what's been going on with me lately and that you probably shouldn't expect to see me on here very often :-( *sorry*... But just put me in your blogreader if I'm not there already and you'll get notified when I post something new ; )

I want to take the opportunity of this post to share with y'all the amazing ways in which the Lord has answered prayer in my life and shown me His love and provision in just these first two months of the year. There are so many things I am thankful for already, that I can't imagine how thankful I will be when Thanksgiving rolls around in November.

The first week of the year saw professions of Christ from both of my little sisters! I had been praying for Katie towards the end of the year, and on New Year's Day she had long talks with my mom and stepdad and came to the end of herself and into the love of our Savior! Then a few days later, my sister Hannah (5 years old) told us that she had been saved too-- She couldn't remember when it was, but "it was at nighttime," and she "asked Him to save her." My mom asked her how she knew that God heard and saved her, and she answered, "because He said, 'uh-huh!'" : ) From the mouth of babes...

On top of those best of blessings, the months of January and February have continued to see heaps of blessings upon me. In so many "little," yet tangible things, I have seen the Lord provide for me abundantly. Here is a list of things I prayed for and received:

1- a new bread machine for $10-$15 (got an almost-new $75 one from Goodwill for $10- works great!)
2- a winter dress coat for under $35 (I found it for $28, brand-new)
3- a ski trip with my friends (the Lord moved someone from church to "out of the blue" give me enough money for both me and my sister to go skiing, and then another person gave us a discount on the lift tickets)
4- a tank of gas, when I was trying not to spend any more money till payday
5- opportunities to spend quality time with friends (two of them)
6- a red sweater in just the right shade, to wear with my gray skirt (found it yesterday at Goodwill in like-new condition, for $3.39)
7- (this one made me feel really special!) a pair of brown Mary Janes!! (I have been looking for a pair since December (I love Mary Janes, and brown ones are so hard to find!)- I've looked through many stores, bid twice for a pair on ebay (never won them), and had to leave it up to the Lord and be content with what I have... Then yesterday at the Goodwill I'm rarely at, there was a pair, in exactly my size, with very little wear- for $3.39!)
8- (this is the funniest one) 3 job offers in one week!! Now granted, I had not been praying for *3* job offers, but I had been seriously considering picking up a few more hours somewhere to try to save enough money to meet a goal I had set for myself to have completed by the time I'm 21.
On a certain Monday, I applied for a job at the local garden center, but they wanted someone to work Sundays... I didn't think they'd be interested in me since I said plainly I wouldn't work Sundays.
Wednesday I get a phone call from a lady in town who picked up my very last business card from the table at the coffee shop across from her shop (she never reads the cards on the table), and saw that I sewed. She called me immediately after getting back to her shop, and said that just the night before she prayed specifically with her grandmother, for someone young who likes to sew, who she could hire and train to eventually take over her custom drapery business! She wanted to meet me that afternoon, and she hired me on the spot! She is a Christian and it is obvious to both her and me that the Lord guided our paths in that way. I was not willing to put out business cards at that coffee shop a few moths ago, but Katie convinced me to just put out three. They sat there for some time, and then the Saturday previous to all this, Katie informed me that they had been by and only one of my cards was left. That one was the card my new boss "happened" to notice on that Wednesday.
That same evening, I had to reserve the skis I would be renting for the ski trip which was going to be on Friday. So before church I went to the ski shop and as I was paying, the manager/owner read the form I had had to fill out to rent skis, saw my age, etc., and told me he was interested in hiring a young woman to run a coffee shop he would be opening up inside the store... He was really interested in getting me for the job, told me he'd pay me more than the sewing lady could, etc, etc, etc... and gave me his business card so I could call him once I had thought about it. (I didn't need to think about it, because I knew I would *not* be interested in working with all the boys that worked for him in the shop!!)
The next Monday, I'm in my car on the way to my first day at the curtain place, my cell phone rings, and it's someone from the garden center, interested in setting up an interview!! I told them I had just accepted another job since I spoke to them last, and thanked them for offering but I didn't need to interview with them at this point... and whew! I've never been so "bombarded" with jobs, when I wasn't really seeking very hard!!
The Lord planted the desire in me for a new job (in addition to my library work, which I'll only be doing on Friday afternoons and one Saturday per month now)... got me ready to look for one, and then threw me a job that is infinitely better suited to me than I could've picked for myself. I had been praying about what to do with my sewing (for business): whether I should advertise more or let it go, and it seems that God would instead have me to primarily sew for this lady, and then help my friends as needs arise. I'll still be sewing for my family at home.
The new job is going very well, and I'm learning a lot about sewing for the home. I've made pillows, swags, jabots (which are *not* pronounced as they look! It's a French word, and boy am I glad I realized what they were talking about and corrected my thinking of it before I had to say the word!! I've only ever read about "zha-BOWS"; never talked about them!!), tablecloths, drapes, dust ruffles, etc... and I love working on the industrial machines! I'm especially enjoying the blind-hemming machine! It's so interesting : )

Pray for me to have wisdom to know how many hours I should work (the lady says she wants me as much as she can have me!), and not to neglect my duties at home, and to have time to do things for my church, and to not be too tired to sew for my family, and to be able to read each day...

Anyway, the point of all this, and the reason I chose the title I did for this post, is that the Lord has been proving to me that He is faithful, that He cares about what I want and need, and that He is utterly able and willing to provide me with everything good, in His time. My God cares about the style, color, and size of a pair of shoes I want- and He gives them to me as an unexpected love-gift at just the right time. My God knows that I have specific goals about how much money I want to have saved at the end of this year, and He has gone before and prepared a way for those goals to be met, by providing me, at just the right time, with a brand-new job not far from home, with Christian women to work with. If my God is so concerned about the "little things" of my life, I have that much more cause to joyfully trust Him to provide for the "big things." He says He will meet my every need, and that is reason enough to rejoice. But then I actually see Him work out even the tiniest of details, and He proves Himself true to His Word, and I can't help but thank Him and trust Him more!

Praise ye the Lord, Who o'er all things so wondrously reigneth!
Shelters thee under His wings, yea so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen, How thy desires e'er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Did you miss me?

I will be writing soon to account for my long, un-called-for absence (but don't get your hopes up for anything *too* exciting yet)... but in the meanwhile, here's a picture from Susan's visit to my house to prove she really was here, if you were inclined to doubt.
I'll be back soon!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Another Year is Dawning

Another year is dawning:
Dear Father, let it be,
In working or in waiting,
Another year with Thee;
Another year of progress,
Another year of praise,
Another year of proving
Thy presence all the days;

Another year of mercies,
Of faithfulness and grace;
Another year of gladness
In the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning
Upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting,
Of quiet, happy rest;

Another year of service,
Of witness for Thy love;
Another year of training
For holier work above.
Another year is dawning:
Dear Father, let it be,
On earth or else in heaven,
Another year for Thee.

Frances R. Havergal, emphasis mine
sing to tune "Aurelia," or The Church's One Foundation

Happy New Year to you all!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Complaining, Part Two

I recently blogged about David bringing his complaints before the Lord, and my thoughts about Christians and complaining. Susan referred me back to one of our favorite books, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, where Jeremiah Burroughs so eloquently speaks on the same topic. Here is a brief paragraph from the first chapter.

[A quiet heart] is not opposed to making in an orderly manner our moan and complaint to God, and to our friends. Though a Christian ought to be quiet under God's correcting hand, he may without any breach of Christian contentment complain to God. As one of the ancients says, Though not with a tumultuous clamour and shrieking out in a confused passion, yet in a quiet, still, submissive way he may unbosom his heart to God. Likewise he may communicate his sad condition to his Christian friends, showing them how God has dealt with him, and how heavy the affliction is upon him, that they may speak a word in season to his weary soul.
~Jeremiah Burroughs, 1648 (emphasis mine)