Rivendell, WIS

O to grace how great a debtor Daily I'm constrained to be! Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Does this coffee cup stir your heart to prayer?

If you walked into your neighborhood Starbucks, ordered your favorite coffee drink, then glanced at your cup and saw these words, what would you think?

"My only regret about being gay is that I repressed it for so long. I surrendered my youth to the people I feared when I could have been out there loving someone. Don’t make that mistake yourself. Life’s too damn short."-- Armistead Maupin

This is old news, but not to me. I just learned about these "The Way I See It" cups last night. My Better Half printed out a few articles he found online about the response of various conservatives to this quote and other ways Starbucks supports the homosexual agenda (see this related article).

Here's what I thought, after mulling this over as I went about my morning routine (which included grinding and brewing some Starbucks coffee beans): I wonder how many followers of Christ have thought to pray for Mr. Maupin? Dear Father in heaven, break into the reality of which he is so sure and show him Your kingdom of light. Plant the seed of the Gospel in his heart and nurture it till it bears the fruit of salvation. And give us all wisdom on how to treat those who are blinded in their lives of sin.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Reading Readiness

Raymond and Dorothy Moore have written several books that deal with readiness for school and for learning to read. Better Late than Early and School Can Wait are very reassuring books for the parent who has a "late bloomer" in one area or another.

Another book I'm reading now, Mortimer J. Adler's How to Read a Book (The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading) includes a brief section on reading readiness. He affirms what the Moores found in their research. "The important thing to remember is that jumping the gun is usually self-defeating. The child who is not yet ready to read is frustrated if attempts are made to teach him, and he may carry over his dislike to the experience into his later school career and even into adult life. Delaying the beginning of reading instruction beyond the reading readiness stage is not nearly so serious, despite the feelings of parents who may fear that their child is backward or is not keeping up with his peers," (Adler, p. 24).

Adler lists several aspects of readiness:
physical--good vision and hearing (The Moore's writings stress this
point strongly--not all children have the necessary vision and hearing
skills at age 5 or 6)
intellectual--visual perception advanced enough to take in and
remember the letters in a word
language--the ability to speak clearly and to use several sentences in
correct order (seems many children develop this long before the other
"personal readiness"--ability to work with other children (how does
this affect learning to read, I wonder?), to sustain attention (ah-- a
Charlotte Mason habit!), to follow directions (Adler, p. 24).

We used How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons for 5 of our 6 kids. Among the reading methods I've seen, it is unique in that it works on skills such as listening and repeating a word the parent speaks s-l-o-w-l-y, rhyming, sounding a word out slowly and then saying it fast, blending sounds, etc. as the child learns the sounds each letter makes. It may be available to preview through your public library.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

"Enjoy a variety of food"--Hedonism or Healthy Habit?

The health writer Lawrence Lindner tells of a committee that gathered to hammer out the wording of the United States Dietary Guidelines in 1995. One committee member suggested that the first guideline read "Enjoy a variety of foods" — language that was rejected as "too hedonistic." (In the end, Mr. Lindner wrote, the committee "opted for the apparently less giddy 'Eat a variety of foods.'")

Where on earth did we get the idea that ENJOYING FOOD was hedonistic? Think about it. Did the God who created strawberries, morel mushrooms, orange roughy and the variety of other fruit, fungi and fish that are delightfully delicious expect us to eat them without enjoyment? Didn't this loving God who gives every good and perfect gift also create taste buds?

"But," I hear the diet-conscious consciences protest, "enjoying good food isn't healthy." Oh, really? Check out Harriet Brown's opine about research done in the 1970s showing that we absorb more nutrition from appetizing, appealing food than from bland or unfamiliar food.
"We're hard-wired to enjoy food; it's a survival mechanism," she states.

I've experienced this first-hand the last year. When I love what I eat, I am satisfied with less food. I am satisfied with a little vichyssoise, a little fresh salmon, a little fettucine alfredo, a little grilled pineapple w/honey sauce. Scarfing down a whole box of cheap cookies doesn't even begin to quench my craving for real food.

Bon appétit! Thank the Lord above for the good food He gives as you enjoy every mouthful. I'm baking a butternut squash tonight... can't wait to taste it. :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Grilled Pineapple (divine)

Grilled Pineapple

Serves 4


4 1 1/2-inch-thick slices of pineapple (fresh and ripe)
Juice of 2 lemons
2 teaspoons honey
Freshly ground pepper

1. Make crisscross slashes with a knife on each slice of pineapple to get a nice presentation after grilling. Broil until the pineapple turns a nice caramel color, but be careful not to burn.

2. In a small saucepan, boil the lemon juice and honey for 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool, add pepper to taste, and drizzle over the pineapple slices. Serve immediately as is or with a scoop of verbena ice cream... We like it with cottage cheese.

(From French Women Don't Get Fat)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

In memory of the last poached pear in the house... which I just ate...

I plan to post some of my favorite recipes here. I've been trying different menus and recipes since reading French Women Don't Get Fat last April. Variety in my diet has helped me to feel satisfied without eating to the point of feeling full, just as Mireille Guiliano said it would.

Here's one of my favorite fruit recipes, great for winter when all we can buy are pears that don't get soft enough to eat raw! This really feels like a treat to eat.

Poached Pears (4 servings)

1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. orange juice /or /sweet white wine
2-3 inches stick cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. water
4 medium pears, peeled, halved, and cored (peaches may be substituted, but I haven't tried them)

In a large skillet bring sugar, juice, cinnamon, vanilla, and water to boiling. Add pears. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered for 10-15 minutes until tender. Remove cinnamon. Serve warm or chilled.


Here's another fruit recipe that takes a little more time and effort, but it's a great way to eat more blueberries. We have it for an appetizer in the summer; those of you in warmer climes may be able to find fresh berries all year long. Using fresh rather than frozen berries will give loads more flavor.

Blueberry Soup

3 c. blueberries (can use other berries, but I haven't tried them)
2 1/4 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 c. plain yogurt (probably vanilla would work too)

Combine fruit, water, sugar, and cinnamon stick in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Pour into blender and let cool.
Remove cinnamon stick, but don't discard it. Blend the mixture. Add yogurt and blend again.
Chill with the cinnamon stick. Refrigerate until cold.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Bedtime Stories Upside Down

When do our youngest two children hear stories in bed? Most often, in the morning as they wake up!

I read an article awhile back in which a mom shared a tip for helping her daughters wake up and get going in the morning: she read part of a captivating chapter book to them while they gradually opened their eyes. If you read to your children, you can imagine that most kids will indeed "come to attention" when the words of a well-loved story begin filtering into their drowsy brains...

So, about a year ago I started reading a poem or two as our then 5 yod and 9 yos lay snuggled in their bunk beds. Since then, we've finished all four of A. A. Milne's classic stories and poems about Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh, as well as some other poems. I think we read Charlotte's Web, but I'd have to check with the kids to be sure. And we are now reading through the Beatrix Potter books, a few pages each morning.

Bedtime is not always a good time for reading at our house. Mom can be worn out or we can be way-off schedule and just want to get to bed. So, bedtime stories "upside down," i. e., in the morning, works to give us some time with some favorite books.