Thursday, November 29, 2012

15 Minutes

We had a homeschool support group meeting the other night on the topic of "Keeping the Home in Homeschooling". We talked about building a family, maintaining a home and meeting your child's educational needs. It was an active discussion.

One thing that came up was The Fly Lady's idea that "You can do ANYTHING for 15 minutes." She encourages people to set a timer for 15 minutes and tackle a task.

With this in mind I am going to do two things every day for 15 minutes:

Clean my playroom

            This space is currently a disaster. I look at it and shut the door. No more. Everyday for 15
            minutes I will clean and organize it.


           This is not an onerous task. I quite enjoy it. But this baby is going to born and I want the blanket
          to be done without me pulling allnighters in April. So, I will find 15 minutes a day to knit.

Easy goals right?

Here's hoping I can be consistent!

What do you need to work on 15 minutes a day?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bread Pudding

This is a "recipe" I often use to make use of the bread crusts that are left when I make bread stuffing. It bears a resemblane to traditional bread pudding but it's not quite it.

 Heapingly fill a 13x9x2 pan with bread crusts

Mix about 1-1/2 cups vanilla soy milk, 2 lightly beaten eggs, 1/4 C brown sugar, a few shakes of cinnamon and a half cup of raisins in a bowl.

Pour the mixture over the bread crusts. Turn crusts until they are coated.

Bake at 250 degrees for 2 hours.

We like this recipe for supper after a large lunch of other leftovers or as a dessert.

Hope you enjoy it, too.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Song for Sunday: Are Ye Able?

Another hymn, this time a very challenging one. I am not sure how it came to be on my mind earlier this week, but it does correspond well to today's Sunday School lesson.

In the adult Sunday School class, led by the pastor, we studied Luke 14:25-35, the passage about counting the cost before deciding to become a disciple. Following Christ changes everything from our relationships to how we view our possessions. It may alter our social position, lose us friends. In some places, its dangerous. Are we able?

“Are ye able,” said the Master,
“To be crucified with Me?”
“Yea,” the sturdy dreamers answered,
“To the death we follow Thee.”

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

Are you able to relinquish
Purple dreams of power and fame,
To go down into the Garden,
Or to die a death of shame?

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

Are ye able, when the anguish
Racks your mind and heart with pain,
To forgive the souls who wrong you,
Who would make your striving vain?

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

Are ye able to remember,
When a thief lifts up his eyes,
That his pardoned soul is worthy
Of a place in paradise?

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

Are ye able when the shadows
Close around you with the sod,
To believe that spirit triumphs,
To commend your soul to God?

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

Are ye able? Still the Master
Whispers down eternity,
And heroic spirits answer,
Now as then in Galilee.

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

                     ~Earl Marlett.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

For Thanksgiving

A prayer of Thanksgiving from the Didache, an early Christian collection of writings.

We give you thanks Holy Father, for your holy name which you have caused to dwell in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which you have made known to us through Jesus your servant; to you be the glory forever.

You, almighty Master, created all things for your name's sake, and gave food and drink to men to enjoy, that they might give you thanks; but to us you have graciously given spiritual food and drink, and eternal life through your servant [Jesus]. Above all we give thanks because you are mighty; to you be the glory forever.

Remember your church, Lord, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in your love; and gather it, the one that has been sanctified, from the four winds into your kingdom, which you have prepared for it; for yours is the glory forever.

May grace come, and may this world pass away. Hosanna to the God of David. If anyone is holy, let him come; if anyone is not, let him repent. Maranatha! Amen.

Maranatha = come soon

May you and yours have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving Day. God bless you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Just about everybody is busy. Sometimes its hard to remember to prioritize our spiritual lives. I know I struggle with that. 

I haven't heard this poem in many years, but it came unbidden to my mind the other day and I thought I would share it. Hope it's helpful. 

No Time To Pray
I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish that I didn't have time to pray.
Problems just tumbled about me,
and heavier came each task,
"Why doesn't God help me?" I wondered.
He answered, "You didn't ask."
I wanted to see joy and beauty,
but the day toiled on gray and bleak;
I wondered why God didn't show me;
He said, "But you didn't seek."
I tried to come into God's presence;
I used all my keys at the lock;
God gently and lovingly chided,
"My child you didn't knock."
I woke up early this morning,
and paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish that I had to take time to pray.

                                            ~Grace L. Naessens

Have you taken time to pray today?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Song for Sunday: A Canon of Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving Sunday and we sang several hymns and a chorus on that theme. I loved the chorus, but it was the choir anthem that resonated with me this time. 

I am in the midst of putting my first garden to bed. We finished eating the last of the fresh veggies from it last night. Some stuff we dried or froze. Perhaps my garden is the reason that the phrase "All is safely gathered in ere the winter storms begin, " caught my attention. Here in New England those winter storms -- or even just winter temperatures -- would ruin vegetables and flowers. It is comforting to know that all is safely in, even on the scale of a backyard garden.

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified, in Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest home.

What is your favorite thanksgiving hymn?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Adoption, anyone?

Today is National Adoption Day.

Have you ever considered adoption?

I think it is a special calling. God has chosen some people to provide for the biological children of others.

Right now there are thousands of children in foster care in the US and millions of orphans worldwide who are waiting for permanent homes. For many, their fondest wish is to be settled in a family, perhaps a family just like yours.

This does have its difficulties. It’s not for everyone. But it could be for you.

Adoption is something to be celebrated. It is a wonderful way to grow a family.

There is a flip side to this. 

If you find yourself expecting a baby you do not have the resources or experience to  care for or if you have an unplanned pregnancy and don’t wish to raise a child, remember that placing the baby for adoption is an option.

There are many couples waiting and hoping to adopt newborns. Perhaps they already have young children at home and want to take in only children who are younger still. Maybe they don’t feel able to cope with the inevitable consequences of trauma generally present in the lives of older adoptees. Or God may be calling them to adopt a little one.

Whatever their situation, they will welcome your child.

Some verses to think on:

 “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.

God sets the lonely in families”
                                           Psalm 68: 5-7a

He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.

                                                       Psalm 113:9

Then he [Jesus] said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”
                                                      Luke 9:48a   

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanks for Health, Prayer for Health

Written by a Rabbi, this prayer offers thanks and asks help for our physical selves.

A Prayer for the Body
Thank You, God, for the body You have given me. Most of the time I take my health for granted. I forget how fortunate I am to live without pain or disability, how blessed I am to be able to see and hear and walk and eat. I forget that this body of mine, with all its imperfections is a gift from You.

When I am critical of my appearance, remind me, God, that I am created in Your holy image. If I become jealous of someone else’s appearance, teach me to treasure my unique form.
Help me, God, to care for my body. Teach me to refrain from any action that will bring harm to me. If I fall prey to a self-destructive habit, fill me with the strength to conquer my cravings.

Lead me to use my body wisely, God. Guide my every limb, God, to perform acts of compassion and kindness.

I thank You, God, for creating me as I am. Amen.

                                       ~Rabbi Naomi Levy

Do you have a need for physical healing? A prayer request you'd like to share?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

World Diabetes Day

Today is World Diabetes Day and I wore blue. That's what people were asked to do to help spread awareness and show support for patients, caregivers, medical professionals and researchers. I have put together a few links offering more information.

What's it like to live with Diabetes?

Blog post about a 16 year old patient

Blog about daily life with Diabetes

Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes

New York Times Health Guide

Five Basics of Type 1 Diabetes Management for Kids

Resources for preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Mayo Clinic

American Diabetes Association

Diabetes can be a tough thing to cope with.

Let's all pray for a cure.

God bless your day!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Khan Academy

My son very recently "enrolled" in Khan Academy.

We were aware of this resource before and used it from time to time, but now he has decided to sign up officially.

Here's what he says:

"It's Fun! It's Amazing! It's Educational! And you get to earn Badges!

I was even able to learn about Negative Exponents!"

Khan is a series of video lessons designed to help any child in the world obtain a free education. It is strongest in math and science, but some humanities courses are available and more classes are being added all the time.

What you do is watch a video and then practice. Practice exercises are provided for many topics. Hints and solutions are available if you get stuck. Students earn badges for proficiency and also for consistent work, persistence and perserverance. Parents and teachers, as well as students, can track progress quite easily.

Khan will not provide a complete education, but for now it will be excellent supplement to what we do at home. I recommend that homeschoolers check it out.

But there is more to it.  Khan Academy was founded by Salman Khan and is run by a small international team with the goal of providing a high quality education to just about everyone -- anyone who has access to an internet connected computer. It is a donor-supported nonprofit and all of it is free to users, so even kids in dire poverty have a chance to use it.

I think that is a great mission.

What educational resources have you found helpful lately?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veteran's Day -- we really don't get it.

It is the last hour of Veteran's Day.

I wanted to post this earlier but I was looking for a picture (which I never found) that I had seen a while ago on a friend's facebook page. It had a picture of a soldier and talked about him coming home. One line stayed with me:

"He's probably not okay."

To those who, like me, have never been to war:

We have no idea. No idea what it is like to be in constant danger. No idea what it is to see friends injured or killed. No idea what it is like to have to kill. 

We can be willing to listen, to pray, to support, to put up with mood swings and fear. Some of us can offer jobs, others provide a meal for a stressed soldier's family. We can all pray. 

But ... we can't get it. We can only love them and hold them and stand by them. They deserve it. 

To Veteran's: 

Thank you!!

That's really all I can say, but I mean it. 

And if you need help, reach out. It's not weakness to ask for what you need. You already paid for that help a thousand fold. 

God bless you. Happy Veteran's Day.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Song for Sunday: The Church's One Foundation

This weeks "song for Sunday" is a grand old hymn. Like many of these weekly songs,it has been "stuck in my 

 1. The church's one foundation 
 is Jesus Christ her Lord; 
 she is his new creation 
 by water and the Word. 
 From heaven he came and sought her 
 to be his holy bride; 
 with his own blood he bought her, 
 and for her life he died. 

2. Elect from every nation, 
 yet one o'er all the earth; 
 her charter of salvation, 
 one Lord, one faith, one birth; 
 one holy name she blesses, 
 partakes one holy food, 
 and to one hope she presses, 
 with every grace endued. 

3. Though with a scornful wonder 
 we see her sore oppressed, 
 by schisms rent asunder, 
 by heresies distressed, 
 yet saints their watch are keeping; 
 their cry goes up, "How long?" 
 And soon the night of weeping 
 shall be the morn of song. 

4. Mid toil and tribulation, 
 and tumult of her war, 
 she waits the consummation 
 of peace forevermore; 
 till, with the vision glorious, 
 her longing eyes are blest, 
 and the great church victorious 
 shall be the church at rest. 

5. Yet she on earth hath union 
 with God the Three in One, 
 and mystic sweet communion 
 with those whose rest is won. 
 O happy ones and holy! 
 Lord, give us grace that we 
 like them, the meek and lowly, 
 on high may dwell with thee.

                     ~Samuel J. Stone

It is the first few lines of verse three that have been in my thoughts. They cameunbidden but perhaps because I have been studying church history and was struck by how quickly divisions entered into the life of the Body. 

I look forward to the day when unity is restored. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Vegan Baked Apples

Usually when I bake apples I fill the space where I have cut out the core with butter, brown sugar and raisins. Yesterday, though, we had vegan friends over and decided to have baked apples for dessert. Cooking oil didn't sound appetizing as butter alternative and neither did the vegan margarine I had on hand.

I looked around and realized that maple syrup might work. So I used that and raisins in the apples. I cooked them for 90 minutes at 275 degrees and then turned the oven down to warm for an hour until we were ready to eat them. They were actually quite good.

For Jordan's birthday party we had the same family over, so I did a second cake with a vegan cake mix, egg replacer and vegan margerine. I used a confectioner's sugar and water glaze as a frosting, and that cake served for several kids with allergies as well.

There are many forms of diversity and dietary philosophies and restrictions are one of them. It's fun to learn about how different people eat and use a variety of foods to accomodate their needs.

What types of diversity have you encountered lately?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


There is a lot of important stuff being voted on today. President, various other offices, ballot questions.

Two days ago, I wrote a piece trying to persuade people to vote against Physician Assisted Suicide. It is relatively easy to take a position on a ballot question. You are only dealing with one issue.

Candidates are another matter.

I took the "I Side With" presidential election quiz. It turns out that I am in 70% agreement with one particular candidate but I won't be voting for them because I do not believe they are the best person to lead our country.  We'll never agree with anyone on everything. I checked the things that are highest on my priority list, and none of the candidates is on the same side as I on all those issues -- or even a majority of them.

I have been an unenrolled voter all along because I do not feel there is a party that represents me.

But, along with the issues, there is leadership style, governmental philosophy and character to consider. And it's hard to see through the hype, spin and stagecraft to discover what a candidate is really like.

Voting is tough. I encourage you to do it anyway. Prayerfully, thoughtfully, carefully.

Have a blessed day...... and thank God that we have a say in government, as flawed as our system is.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Physician Assisted Suicide.

I live in Massachusetts and we are voting in two days on whether or not to allow physician assisted suicide. I oppose the law. I haven't been happy with the arguments against it, though. Here are the major ones I have seen:

The question is poorly written.  If it was well-written would you vote for it? I wouldn't. Still, if you are not morally opposed to physician-assisted suicide, this is something to consider. 

Predicting the end of life is difficult. Very true. My grandmother lived more than 10 years after the doctors told her she had two weeks. An important point. Still, even if we could accurately predict the end of life, I would oppose this law. 

The question doesn't require patients requesting a prescription to end life to receive counseling or meet with a psychiatrist or psychologist.  If this safeguard were in place, I would still vote no on this question.

The prescription could be provided by any doctor, regardless of specialty. I am guessing that most doctors whose specialties rarely involve the terminally ill -- eye doctors, podiatrists, etc., -- would not be writing these prescriptions. But, again, even if there were restrictions, I would not vote for this law. 

Proposed safeguards are not adequate and will allow for elder abuse. That's horrible in and of itself, but if adequate protective measures were included I would still oppose this measure. 

Clearly my oppostion to Question 2 is not related to safeguards and procedures. It's about respect for life. The law already allows people to refuse any medical treatment, even if it would save their life. Pain medication and other palliative measures are available to those who want them.

If we enact this law, we may well set up an environment in which people will begin to see the terminally ill as a burden. There will be subtle undercurrents and societal pressures that will cause those with heartbreaking diagnoses to see it as their duty to die and relieve their caregivers of difficult responsibilty. It will blur the line between medical care and mercy killing.

I see the intentional taking of life as playing God. Even if you don't believe in God, can see that putting one's self in the place of a deity is wrong: It is not for us to decide who lives and who dies.

Please, if you live in Massachusetts, vote no on question 2. 

Song for Sunday: Unrevealed Until It's Season

The "Hymn of Promise" is a beautiful, affirming song, full of expressions of faith and reminders that good can come from bad, or seemingly bad, circumstances. It was sung at my mother's memorial service in March 2011.

A snippet of it has been lodged in my brain for days.

          "Unrevealed until its season
           Something God alone can see"

It reminds me of the Bible verse "Now we see through a mirror dimly, but then face to face."

I am not sure, though, why it came to my mind and stayed and stayed. I'll need to do some more meditating on that.

Here's a version of "Hymn of Promise" by a church choir. May it bless and uplift you.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Teenager at Home....

I like teenagers.

Scratch that. I am in youth ministry partly because I
love teenagers. All of them, with all
their risk-taking, impulsiveness and arrogance. And all their generosity, energy and
thoughtfulness. It’s an amazing thing to watch them grow and become leaders, teachers
and productive adults.

But now I have one in my house. My son turns 13 today. I don’t know what to make of
that. It’s a bit …scary.

I mean, I know plenty about teenagers. Games they like, how to teach them, etc.
Parenting one, though? That’s a different proposition altogether.

Well, parenting has a way of being on the scary side. Did I make the right decision there?
Set the right balance here? Oh my….have I scarred him for life?

If you are a parent, you know what I mean.

Adolescence seems to take it to a new level, though. Or maybe it’s the anticipation.

I guess I’ll just have to get on with it. Prayerfully. Trying to stay in tune with who my son
is and who he is becoming. It’s got its exciting side.

My son is a wonderful kid. I am sure this next phase will be a positive one.

Do you have teenagers at your house?