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.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter Story Cookies

Our kids like me to make these on Easter weekend, though we are sometimes too busy to do it. They call them "tomb cookies."

1cup whole pecans
1tsp vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
zipper baggie
wooden spoon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (This is important. Don't wait till you're half done with the recipe!).

Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3.

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.

So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar.

Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and I John 3:1-3*.

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.

GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.

He is risen! Alleluia!

*Note: edited at 3:38 pm to correct scripture reference in the 8th paragraph. It read "John 3:1-3" originally; I John 3:1-3 seems to better fit the topic of that section.

Friday, April 07, 2006

A dance began 26 years ago...

Spring and summer of 1980. He is a new believer in Jesus Christ, also newly discharged from the US Air Force. After returning to the family farm, he begins attending church regularly for the first time in his life. She meets him at a Bible study for college-age people. They both enroll in the local two-year university.

A small group of christians meet on campus for Bible studies and prayer. As friendships develop, they gather to talk in the cafeteria, library, parking lot... before and after classes... long conversations, much laughter.

She watches him, noticing that he is intelligent and articulate, discussing subjects she too finds interesting. He is sensitive, looking for ways God can work through his life. A great listener, he asks perceptive questions and gives sound advice when other students come to him with their problems. She admires the freshness and depth of his newfound love for God and the Bible.

A question arises in her mind within the first month of school. Could he be the one? This question grows into a dream, a dream she lays before her Father in heaven. She waits to see what He will do with it.

November 20, 1980.
After everyone else leaves a prayer meeting at school, the two begin a conversation that stretches through the afternoon. His counseling abilities and how people seek his advice is one of the topics.

She says, "I had thought of coming to you for some advice."

"Oh, really? About what?"

Uh-oh. She should have known he would ask. Well, she had known. What to say now? Moments pass as she carefully chooses her words, telling him she's not sure she should tell him.

He waits, questions, yet has no clue of the earth-shaking revelation about to emerge.

"I was going to ask what you thought I should do about... What a person should do if... Well, I'll speak of it in past-tense, because I think I may not have the problem any more." Hadn't she been thinking about him less the last week?

She pauses, then finally plunges in, "I had a crush on you."

Thus begins the dance--she takes the first step.

He expresses genuine surprise. A rare man, he, never imagining that any girl would be harboring romantic thoughts about him. He quietly questions her, trying to piece together the facts of this story.

She answers with bright eyes, relieved to finally take a step and patiently waiting for the next one--his step.

He makes a move just as the conversation is winding down. "Well, if you ever want to do anything together, let me know."

Not what she expected. But, this dance is unlearned, unpracticed. Never has anyone else danced it like these two. Spontaneously, each of them chooses his next word, look or movement in a style unique to his own soul. A dance impossible to be danced again.

Their next meeting is a group trip to Red Lobster. No chance for conversation in the van, but at the restaurant, their feet move them to the same table. Alone.

"Hey, you two can't sit by yourselves!" Bryan exclaims, joining them with a huge smile. The two exchange their first private glance, which says, "They haven't yet noticed our dance."

What seals it? After the fish, after the trip home, her phone rings. It is him. He talks of what he has been thinking and remembering: past conversations that could have clued him in on her feelings; comments dropped by mutual friends (girls in on her secret) that seemed odd at the time. Trickles of melting snow from the hills, converging in the valley to rush downstream with nothing to stop the flood.

Our wedding: December 26, 1981

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Jumping Jehosaphat!

Our second daughter has been writing stories like mad... and has posted a small sampling at her blog. If you'd like to read what she's posted and let her know what you think, visit Jumping Jehosaphat.

Atdhvaannkcse. By the way, if you don't have a Xanga account but would like to leave her a comment, feel free to comment here. I will pass it on to her.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Burn-out, multitasking, joy in living

I found an old blog post at Tami's Blog about how she avoids burning out as a homeschool mom. I agree, I agree.

Thank you, Henry Cate of Why Homeschool for writing about The Multitasking Generation. This is definitely a topic for thought and discussion in our family.

I've been spending less time online these past few months... and I've enjoyed it. This paragraph says it better than I can, from the Time article Henry quotes:

"The problem," says Hallowell, "is what you are not doing if the electronic moment grows too large"--too large for the teenager and too large for those parents who are equally tethered to their gadgets. In that case, says Hallowell, "you are not having family dinner, you are not having conversations, you are not debating whether to go out with a boy who wants to have sex on the first date, you are not going on a family ski trip or taking time just to veg. It's not so much that the video game is going to rot your brain, it's what you are not doing that's going to rot your life."

I find joy in having time (15 minutes, some days) to read an extra story with my 6 yo dd. I find joy in reading a novel now and then, going for a walk now that the weather is nice, looking forward to cleaning out the flowerbed. I find peace and contentment in spending time planning our school days rather than flying by the seat of my jeans. I find satisfaction in having a little more time to keep the clutter in control... Keeping my computer time manageable gives time for other joyful pursuits.

God is so good to me.