Thursday, 21 January 2016

Book Review and Sunday Snow

A light coat of snow
Since “Maverick” has been off work due to injuries, I gave myself the goal of not buying anything unnecessary.  But today, I bought a book.  It isn’t that I don’t have enough un-read books here at home; on the contrary, there must be a stack of at least twenty books in the lounge and several more in my office.    The book is one I mentioned last week; Everyday God, The Spirit of the Ordinary by Paula Gooder. 
                In late October 2015, a group from St. Francis church, Langley, started a Book club, meeting about every three months.  It is an open group, discussing Christian books or books relevant to our Christian faith.  The first book they talked about was The Grace Out-pouring” by Roy Godwin and Dave Roberts.  While I did read the book, I didn’t make it to the discussion group. 
                The next time the group meets is on Sunday, 31st January.  That is the reason I have chosen to concentrate on completing my read of  Everyday God.  The book has several endorsements, one by Nicky Gumbel, who is well known for his involvement with Course. 
                My impression of Paula Gooder is what I would call a “Common Man’s” theologian.  In other words, she teaches Bible theology in a very down to earth manner and helps the reader see things in a new context. 
               One of her suggestions in regards to reading the Bible, is to read several versions to get different facets of meaning.  Quotes of scripture come from the New International Version, Revised Standard Version, The Message and others.  The Bible I read is an Amplified Version.
                While “Maverick” was out on errands this morning, I took the time to sit and read a large chunk.  I want to get it finished as quickly as possible, as I need to pass the book along to someone else.  And that is part of the reason I decided to buy my own copy.

                The section I read today was about The Kingdom of God.  In this section, Mrs. Gooder expands on Amos 5:21-24

21 “I hate, I despise your feast days,
And I do not savour your sacred assemblies.
22 Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings,
I will not accept them,
Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings.
23 Take away from Me the noise of your songs,
For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.
24 But let justice run down like water,
And righteousness like a mighty stream.

Mrs. Gooder writes: 
“At the same time God is as concerned with what we do every day of our lives as he is with what we do when we set aside time specifically to worship him.  Even more that this, he is so concerned with what we do on the ordinary days that he will reject our worship if it is not built on the firm foundation of justice and righteousness in every part of our lives.” Page 83

As of this writing, there remain just over twenty pages for me to read.  I highly recommend reading this book, as it presents us with a Jesus who is highly touchable, a kingdom that is tangible without being seen and a God who isn’t afraid of the grittiness of life.

On Sunday, 17th January we woke up to snow.  This was the first time for Maisy to experience the snow.  She wasn’t too keen at first—as it was cold to her little paws.  But then she discovered she could eat it, and she suddenly liked it.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Thirteen--unlucky? Absolutley Not! Very blessed instead!

Blisteringly cold wind greeted us on the morning of Saturday, 18th January 2003. The sun dazzled off the snow, but had no warmth.   The re-frozen slush on the church parking lot scrunched and cracked as I pulled the car to a halt.  I was the first to arrive.  I knew I would need the time to get ready.
Besides my friends and family in Indiana, friends were coming from Illinois to attend a long awaited wedding.  My mother and I had been waiting for this day all my adult life.  In the quiet of the church I suddenly became overwhelmed with exhaustion, excitement and insecurity.  This was my wedding day, to" My Midnight Man". 
I had no doubts that I loved" Midnight Man," no doubts that I wanted to be married to him.  But on that day, thirteen years ago, I was starting a new chapter:  the stress of getting a visa after the wedding;  flying to a place I’d never been before; meeting John’s daughter, his friends with him being my only support system was a huge step.  But, like most brides, emotion overcame me and I cried. With the help on my bridesmaids I got through the moment. 
The mind is an amazing organism in what it can recall so clearly—even though it is years later.  I remember the weather changing quickly.  It was bitter, biting wind with sun at 9.30 am when I arrived at the church.  By 1.30 pm, the clouds had rolled in and we had snow.  It danced and blew like the snow in a glitter ball.  By 9.00 pm, when we left the reception, the clouds had nearly cleared, with small ones skittering along the blue-black night.  And the moon was silver white, full and beaming.  
The groom being prepared

The Bride being laced up.

Our vows completed.

A hug with that kiss.

Mr. & Mrs. walking into our new life.
Today it is just above freezing, and sunny.  But we have no snow.  Thirteen years have rushed by.  When “Maverick” and I got married, there were eight grandchildren; now there are twenty.  Thirteen years ago we worshiped at Hillsong Church, London.  Now we worship at a Church of England church.  Those are the kind of things that change.  But our love had also changed—deepened, strengthened, matured.  
No thirteen means another year of God’s grace we have been given.  We are blessed.  We rejoice!
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
"Lady Helene"

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Post Number 200--A Simple Prayer

     As some of you have been following my blog from the beginning, you know i occasionally post prayers I write.  This prayer is for the Family Worship Service, which happens monthly.  The service is geared to families with young children--five years and younger.  With such an energetic, curious group of little ones, the prayer needs to be short, simple and sincere.  

The theme of tomorrow's service is, "Starting the New Year with God."


Response:        Help us, Lord,
                                                To listen to you.

Loving God, Our Father, this is January; the start of a new year.  We know You love us, because each day you give us a fresh start.   Thank you that your mercy never runs out.  You created us to love you and each other.  Loving means listening.  We want to hear you.

Response:        Help us, Lord,
                                                To listen to you.

Thank you Lord, for giving us two ears, which makes it easier to hear.   The Bible says Your voice is still and small.  Teach us to take time every day to be quiet and listen.  As we read the Bible, our eyes see, but our mind and heart hear Your message.  Show us how to share it with others.

Response:        Help us, Lord,
                                                To listen to you.

Problems are everywhere in the world.  Like Syria, Turkey, Jakarta, and Burkina Faso.  People are hungry, sick and have to live with anger, fear, and war.  But we are here and we don’t know how to help people in faraway places.  Yet, we want to help.  Give us ideas for things we can do to make a difference for them.  We know you listen to our prayers; teach us  to discern Your Answers.

Response:        Help us, Lord,
                                                To listen to you.

Jesus, bless the Cleaver family as they finish their training and begin their new work in Ukraine.  Bless our friends and family.  Thank you for letting us share their lives.  Help them to listen to Your voice too.

Response:        Help us, Lord,
                                                To listen to you.

Father, be with those who are sick, lonely and alone.  Please help the sick to heal.  Help the lonely to find friends.  Show us how to reach out to them with your gentleness and kindness.  As we look ahead to this year, we want to grow in our faith, especially in knowing Your voice. 

Response:        Help us, Lord,
                                                To listen to you.

We pray like Jesus taught us:

ALL:  Our Father in heaven,  hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, Now and forever. Amen.


Thursday, 14 January 2016

Cooking again, meeting demands

          During the autumn of 2013 I joined an on-line dieting and healthy-eating website.  It was a successful time, and I lost about 15 pounds.  I got bored, and realised that I wasn’t making the best use of the website and cancelled my subscription.  I managed to lose some early in 2015.  But towards November last year I was sliding back into bad habits. 
          My intention was to create my own four-week menu plan, posting it in my kitchen.  This project got interrupted; over the last couple of months I’ve been preoccupied with other things.  So, I decided that I needed to make it a priority.  So today I’ve been working on it—between taking Maisy out for walks, doing lunch and eating dinner.  (Maverick cooked tonight!)  I still have a couple of days to complete and recipes to organise.  Then I will print it out, laminate it and post it in the kitchen.
          It seems I like to post photos on my blog.  I think it is because I loved picture books and illustrated books when I was growing up.  On Tuesday I took a photo of another dish I made. 
          I saw a recipe for seafood enchiladas.  You can find the link here.Seafood Enchiladas 

        Inspiration tickled my brain and I decided to use some leftover mash, add some tuna to make my own recipe.
Tuna and Bacon Enchiladas

4 rashers of lean bacon
1 can of tuna (spring water or in oil, it doesn’t matter), drained
8 oz shredded cheese
½ to 1 cup of mashed potatoes
1 medium onion
4 ten-inch tortilla wraps (large)
1 cup double cream (UK) – half-and-half (USA)
½ cup soured cream
¼ cup melted butter
1 teaspoon dill
1 ½ teaspoon parsley

1)    Pre-heat oven to 180ºC/ 350º /Gas mark 4.
2)  Chop onion finely
3)  Cook bacon until well browned.  Once done, chop up into medium pieces.
4)  Place left over mash into a large bowl.
5)   Add in onion, 4 oz. shredded cheese, chopped bacon and herbs.
6)  Add in the drained tuna.
7)   Mix well.  Add a bit of milk if it seems too stiff.
8)  Heat tortilla wraps in microwave.
9)  Divide the filling into four parts, placing it in the middle of the tortilla.
10)                     Roll the tortilla up and place it in a 9” x 13” baking dish.
11)                       In a small pan, pour in cream, soured cream and butter, garlic powder, dill and parsley.  Heat over a medium heat until luke-warm and well mixed.
12)                      Pour over the sauce over the enchiladas. 
13)                      Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese over the top.
14)                      Bake for 30 minutes.

The mashed potato makes it very filling.  
          The last couple of photos are of Maisy.  Being clever, she is always surprising me with her antics.  On Tuesday, Maisy started barking.  She was in the lounge and I was in the kitchen.  So I turned around to see what she was going on about.  
          On the radiator was the broom brush without the handle.  When she was a puppy, she started playing with it.  Since the handle is long-gone, we’ve just let her chew on it as a toy.  Maisy wanted that brush.  She jumped up on the chair, hoping she could reach it.  She couldn’t, so she was “Asking me” to get it down for her.  Being so cute, I had to say yes!
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
“Lady Helene”