Friday, 25 February 2011

Participants in the conversation:
My Oldest Stepdaughter—TCD1979
Her Husband—CD1960
Their only daughter—SDD2008
Mr. CD1960 comes in from work.  His 2.5 year old daughter is in the lounge.  “Hi Lolly! (Her nick-name)  What ya doing?”
                A whine and “Unn-uhn.” Is her inarticulate response.
                “Don’t talk to me in that tone of voice.” Says Daddy CD1960
                 Little Miss SDD2008 walked into the kitchen.  “Mummy, Daddy called me a voice.”

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Time to rejoice

The glasses have been found!  Under a foot locker which is stored under my desk!  Now I really feel like the woman in the Scripture! 

The True Measure of Love

        Observation has told me that for some women the measure of a man is whether he could compete to grace the cover of Gentlemen’s Quarterly.  Other women are less concerned about a man’s fashion sense (as long as he’s well groomed) and more concerned with character. 
        The actions of My Midnight Man [MMM] have never left me in doubt of his devotion—even his pleasure in caring for me.  And at 2:00 a.m. this morning (Tuesday, 22nd Feb) he was showing me the true level of his servant heart. 
Back-up Glasses
        Yesterday my bifocals went AWOL (Away With Out Leave).  I remember having them on shortly after my shower.  With a towel wrapped turban-style around my head, getting them onto my face required minor adjustments to the towel.  I’d put them on to read the cooking label on a package of pre-fried chicken MMM had purchased for dinner.  He sussed out the instructions with the help of a magnifying glass, which left me being redundant.  So I went back to my office to attend to some business on the computer.  The towel became heavy on my head, so I remember taking it off.  What I don’t remember is when I took off my bifocals--or more importantly, WHERE I put them. 
         I’d only discovered that my bifocals were missing after we’d eaten and John was busy coaching Daughter #2 via a phone call.  These errant spectacles were not in the black case I keep on my desk.  They weren’t near the keyboard.  Nor were they sitting on the monitor stand.  Thus began my quest for the newest pair of glasses I own. 
        I re-traced my steps into the kitchen...not there.  I checked the usual perching spots in our bedroom.   I have a habit of taking them off at the dining table when I eat and laying them at the end.  Table was glasses of any kind.  I took a rest from searching to watch a little television.
        On a break from studying MMM walked into the lounge.  I expressed my frustration, and my total mystification at the disappearance of my bifocals.  About ten minutes later I see a spot light in the hallway.  MMM has his super-sized torch (flashlight) out and is scouting under the dining table, on the window ledge, all around my office and our bedroom.  Sweeping the beam left and right, he checked under the beds, under the desks, down the side of the cooker and the fridge.  No glasses.
        It was well after midnight when I got into bed.  As I lay there thinking, I remembered I’d gotten into the medicine box which holds various pain killers.  So, I got up to see if I’d dropped them into that box.  Plenty of aspirin, other over-the-counter pain relievers and prescriptions for John’s back.  But no bifocals. 
        MMM came in while I was checking there.  I told him I was giving up and going back to bed.  By now it was after 2:00 a.m. and I told myself that obsessing about it when I should be sleeping was foolish.  While MMM stretched his full height to check the shelves where the medicine boxes are kept, I told him that I was going to go through the kitchen rubbish bin (trash can) later. 
        And so, it was at that point that My Midnight Man most truly followed the Servant example of Jesus.  Instead of washing my feet, MMM donned a pair of rubber gloves and diligently sorted through the refuse in an attempt to find the missing eyewear.  The search was fruitless—although the smell was certainly ripe!  But my mind was alleviated in knowing I had not accidently thrown them into the bin.  I had been distracted enough by a headache! 
        I’m reminded of the woman who lost a silver coin. 
        “Or what woman, having ten [silver] drachmas [each one equal to a day’s wages], if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep in house and look carefully and diligently until she finds it?  And when she has found it, she summons her [women] friends and neighbours, saying ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the silver coin which I had lost.’”  Luke 15:8-9
        The “new” glasses are still missing.  I always keep the old pair of glasses for a back-up.  I’m so glad because I wouldn’t be able to read or do any thing that required close up work. 
        The eyewear must be in the flat.  John and I looking and praying.  In the meantime, I am thankful.  Thankful that I still have two pair of back-up glasses.  I’m thankful that God is God and that I can trust Him.  And I am especially grateful for a husband who serves me so selflessly, just as Jesus would.  MMM constantly proves that the measure of a man is not his clothing, but his actions.  
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Appreciating the Feedback...

      I recently picked up a copy of Blogging For Dummies from the library.  One of the questions I had when I started blogging was how often I should blog.  The author said that to build a large readership, blogging everyday is a good goal.  That relieved my mind--as I didn't want to overwhelm my readers.  
     I am always surprised at which postings get feedback.  The posting "Thoughts for Today" about foods I don't like has generated some lovely feed back.  The following is from one of my friends.  I'm posting it because she has provided some tasty suggestions.
Hi Dalletta,
       Agree with you on the alcohol. Tastes terrible. We have tried wine samples before at restaurants. Why try to learn to like something that isn't necessary anyway? I have enough trouble with chocolate! Yum!.
      I used to hate mushrooms, but have learned to like them somewhat. Saute in a little soy sauce & water (need water so ss doesn't get too strong & concentrated & so there is a "broth" formed.)  Serve over baked potato. Low fat & yummy.
     Olives! Can't get enough of them - green or black.  My Italian family favorite. Marinate black olives in olive oil, garlic, oregano & just a pinch of crushed red pepper. Eat as is or add to salad. Amazingly delicious. (Of course, it's in my Italian blood so maybe that's why I like it so much.)
     Hope you & John are well. Our whole family has started on a health-improvement adventure called it out online. Dean & I, Joel & Kellie, and Lisa all involved. Even Steve is working on some areas without "officially" joining. Great support from others.
    Keep in touch!
Thanks for the feedback.  I am sure My Midnight Man will love the marinated olives.  

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Who is Michelin?

        One of the things I love about living in England is that the BBC (British Broadcasting Company) provides a plethora of cooking shows.  There is information about many of the shows I like at this website: 
        Some of the featured chefs and cooks I like are The Hairy Bikers,( Simon King and Dave Meyers), James Martin, Ainsley Harriott, Nigel Slater, Raymond Blanc, Rachel Allen.
        One of the most popular cooking shows on television here is called Master Chef, hosted by Gregg Wallace and John Torode.  This year’s competition started this week.  For my American audience, the premise of the show is that amateur cooks compete over a series of weeks to win the title of Master Chef.  They are judged by John and Gregg on cooking skills, presentation, taste and creativity.  Yes, it is reality television—but at least it is also educational.  I’ve learned a lot watching Master Chef. 
        Watching all these cooking shows has also made me acutely aware of why I could never become a Michelin Star, professional chef. 
1)      Alcohol:  I hate the taste and smell of any drink made from fermented fruit or grain.  Whilst watching a show one of the cooks will add wine to spaghetti Bolognese sauce and I immediately think; “Leave that out!”  I’ve tasted various wines and spirits.  The result is the same—shudders of horror.  Have you ever tasted a really strong, bitter cough syrup, or smell rubbing alcohol?  That’s how wines, liqueurs and beer taste/smell to me.  Hence, I can’t/won’t cook with them.  The standard remark is: “The alcohol cooks out, you can’t get tipsy.”  The affects of the alcohol is not the issue—it’s the smell and the taste that I find objectionable.  
2)      Mushrooms and blue cheese:  Thankfully these ingredients don’t possess strong scents.  But they are foods whose origins are from rot:  mushrooms are fungus—think mould.  And blue cheese is also infected with mould—which is what makes it blue.  I have made an effort to learn to like mushrooms—but as they cook, the scent is released, and to me it smells like a musty athletic locker room.  My taste buds protest these little items rarely enter my kitchen.
3)      Olives:  Another fruit whose flavours totally elude my happy taste buds.  I’ve tried these on many occasions—both black and green.  Olives are a great source of minerals, anti-oxidants and vitamins.  But sadly, my taste buds revolt when exposed to these Mediterranean produce. 
4)      Curry and chillies:  One of the key ingredients in Asian food and Mexican food is cumin.  My digestive system reacts like bicarbonate soda and vinegar when I eat anything that contains cumin, curry powder mixtures and hot chillies.  Occasionally I can get away with a very mild curry that has lots of cooling ingredients mixed in, such as yogurt, cocoa nut milk and cucumber.  But my tongue and throat are very sensitive to the oils that burn in chillies, peri-peri and other hot spices.  (Peri-Peri is referred to as African Devil or African Red Devil).  When My Midnight Man cooks, occasionally he’ll add peri-peri to the meat without telling me.  When my mouth begins to tingle, then burn and that taste of chilli unfolds I look at him and say; “Did you add peri-peri?”  He may not add much—but I can always tell.  

Perhaps what is most ironic is that My Midnight Man likes a nice glass of wine.  Olives—both black and white—get included in the shopping because My Midnight Man enjoys an olive and feta cheese salad.  He will eat Roquefort cheese, Stilton Cheese and other blue cheeses.  We often buy some if we have guests coming for dinner.  With a fire-proof mouth, My Midnight Man relishes curry—the hotter the better.  Thankfully My Midnight Man likes most everything else I cook—which is great.  
Most professional cooks use at least one or more of the above ingredients.  And just because I don’t like wine, brandy, liqueurs, mushrooms, olives, blue cheeses or hot spices, doesn’t mean I’m not a good cook.  I’m a home cook who loves to do what I can do well.  I truly enjoy making food that people enjoy.  And what is amazing, wonderful and exciting is that recently I’ve had people asking me to teach them what I know.  So, with that kind of endorsement, who needs a star anyway?
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith

Friday, 18 February 2011

Chicken Pot Pie
        There is so much I want to do with my life.  Everyday is a battle against fatigue.  But I do plan for days of rest before and after scheduled commitments.  There are two things that I do enjoy doing that make me feel like I am making a contribution to the community and to the Kingdom—cooking and writing prayers.  
        On Wednesday, 16th February, I spent the day cooking for the Alpha Course at St. Mary’s Church of England, Langley Parish.  I did a two-course meal of chicken pot pie and apple up-side down cake. Often when I cook for other people, I do a lot of praying.   I always pray about what to fix, pray during the prepartion of the food, while I’m fixing it and then prayers of thanksgiving when it is enjoyed.  I was aching and tired by the time I finished on Wednesday—but truly did enjoy the creativity and the results.  
        This morning it was time to focus on writing the prayer
Apple Upside Down Cake
for the monthly Family Service which is held at 9:30 a.m. for families with young children.  The challenge is writing something that is meaningful, yet simple enough for a five-year-old to grasp the meaning of as well.  This month the topic is prayer—with the service built upon the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray.  I’m posting the prayer I wrote for Sunday here for your consideration.  

Talking to God
Reader:  Jesus taught us; “This then is how you should pray.”
Response:  Father, help to know what this prayer means and live it.

Our Father in Heaven:
Father:  You, Who created us to be like you—a spirit.  You sent us Jesus—God, The Created, becoming like us, God in a body of flesh and blood.  Jesus called you “Abba”, which means “Daddy.”  You are God in Heaven Who knows all that we need and cares tenderly for us.

Reader:  Jesus taught us; “This then is how you should pray.”
Response:  Father, help to know what this prayer means and live it.

Hallowed be Your name:  Your Name is Holy.  You deserve our thanks, our devotion, our admiration and even our lives.  Help us to worship you for Who you are—not just for what You do for us. 

Reader:  Jesus taught us; “This then is how you should pray.”
Response:  Father, help to know what this prayer means and live it.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
 Abba, Daddy, teach us how to be like you:
And able to accept the weakness and faults of others, whilst still seeing the best in them. 
By following the example of Jesus, we can see how to do what you want us to do;
So that others can see and learn about You. 
By the power of Your Holy Spirit, whom you sent to livewithin us, Your will is done on earth—in the same way that you are worshipped and obeyed in heaven.

Reader:  Jesus taught us; “This then is how you should pray.”
Response:  Father, help to know what this prayer means and live it.

Give us today our daily bread. 
Father, sometimes it is easy to take for granted what we have been blessed with—food to eat, clothes to wear, the listening ear of a good friend, comfort when we are hurt, the healing sound of a child’s laughter.  Each day You provide for us—sometimes in surprising ways.  Help us to not worry about the future—but rest in knowing that exactly what is needed today will be given to us. 

Reader:  Jesus taught us; “This then is how you should pray.”
Response:  Father, help to know what this prayer means and live it.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors
Father, when we get hurt and feel as though someone owes us something, help us come to You and share our bad feelings—You can help us to let go of anger, resentment, fear.  Sometimes we get angry about situations—because we don’t know exactly who is at fault.  When we feel that others have taken advantage of us—been unjust and unkind—let us remember everything that Jesus suffered on the cross so that You would let go of our debt to you.  Let us find the courage to say, “If Jesus can forgive me for everything bad that I have done, then I too can forgive anyone else who has done wrong to me.” 

Reader:  Jesus taught us; “This then is how you should pray.”
Response:  Father, help to know what this prayer means and live it.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one
Father, life is like a race.  Temptations are like hurdles we must jump over in order to keep running. Sometimes the race seems too long and the things that get in our way seem too big and too many.  Father, help us know that You will always give us wisdom, strength and courage to face the things that are meant to make us stumble and fall.  Yet, because we are only human, we will trip, we will fall.  At these times You send us grace to get up and get back into the race of life.  Your Presence is always with us and you will not allow Satan to ruin us.  What Satan would use to destroy us, is often turned around by You, using it for our good.  You are so amazing.  Thank you

Reader:  Unite our hearts to be like yours.  For the sake of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith.