Thursday, May 20, 2010

Poke Around

Hey all,
I'm tied up for a few weeks, I'm not neglecting you and I will miss you.  I promise to come back with lots of pictures. Poke around the archives if you'd like. May I also suggest if you are new to the blog world, check out the other blogs I follow.  Enjoying these women's writings is what inspired me to blog in the first place.
Explore and enjoy,
Blog Med Sig 4

P.S.  I just learned that my first pastor, Pastor Tom, died this morning.  He's my Dad's age and my parents first served in the ministry under his leadership.  Tom was the first image I had of a godly leader and he was great.  I've known him my whole life.  Please pray for his family, his church family and us as we grieve.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Stinkerbell's Tale

Once upon a time there was a beautiful damsel, Lady Bee. This damsel had many men in her life. She had a father, several brothers, a handsome husband and adoring son. She was however, sorely lacking in women. She needed a woman to be her friend, to understand the value of bargain hunting, cake baking, fresh guacamole and how color choices can change the mood of a room and its occupants.

One day her life changed. Lady Bee and her family moved to a magical land far in the south, a land of balmy breezes, warm sunny days and sparkling blue water. This land was so beautiful it was hailed as the Jewel of the region. Quickly she began new employment at a local, if slightly worn castle. She worked with all sorts of women, tall women and short women, young women and "mature" women, beautiful women and plain women, in fact more women than she knew what to do with. Lady Bee did not work there long. But in the time that she remained she discovered a very disturbing fact, women can be very complicated and at times very mean. She began to appreciate more and more the men in her life. But all was not lost, disillusioned perhaps at the cruelty she had seen, Lady Bee had still won the friendship of a few, true maidens. I know, because I was one.

My apprenticeship over, I moved away from this balmy land to a different, harsher domain. My new home had its own arid, alpine beauty but I missed my friend. Thankfully Lady Bee and I were able to correspond and even meet once in a while. Finally an opportunity arose to work together once again.

Lady Bee’s family moved north and I moved south. We worked at a clean, new castle on a “Ranch” in the middle of a region originally known for its groves of fruit. Our work was hard, our hours long and our challenges many. But our friendship was strong. Often in the evenings we would roam the land, talking and laughing. When we could steal away we made the trek to again gaze at the sea. Lady Bee became to me an older sister as well as a dear friend.

Suddenly, one summer morning, tragedy struck. While traveling to the local market, Lady Bee was killed.

My heart was broken; I longed to return to my family in their new alpine homeland. But my pain was nothing compared to the devastation in Lady Bee’s husband’s heart. They had been school sweethearts and had enjoyed almost two decades of loving partnership. How could he go forward when the primary plan he’d had for his future was to live it with her. Lady Bee’s husband also felt the weight of continuing to raise their son alone, leading him into manhood without the gentling touch of his mother, the bittersweet crooning of a feisty little bird that loved him all while speaking in the perfectly mimicked voice of his bride and finally, and perhaps least important to him, was the sweet spotted dog who guarded the front door.

That sweet spotted dog had a special place in my heart. She bonded to me at our first introduction in a way that claimed me as her very own. Even Lady Bee had noticed the connection and admonished me to keep quiet around the dog at times when they needed her silence. To even hear my voice was enough to set this pooch to whining.

Several months after the loss of Lady Bee, I had finalized and publicized my plans to return to my family lands. I was standing outside of Lady Bee’s cottage discussing them with a friend when her dog began to whine. The whining was followed by barking and then howling. I stood there amazed. I had only heard this dog bark once and never howl. I turned to the neighbor. “Does she do this often now that Lady Bee is gone?” I queried. He stared at me, mouth agape, and replied, “I have never heard her do this.” I finally understood that it was not Lady Bee that this dog was now pining for, but me.

The realization dawned on me that if at all possible I must take this dog with me. As my final act of friendship to Lady Bee, I would care for her girl. But how? Could I even broach the subject with her husband, and where would we live? I hadn’t found a cottage of my own yet and this was not a little dog. What landowner would welcome us both?

I whispered a prayer, asking my Creator to work out all of the details if this was in fact His idea and His plan. And He did just that. In a little over a month Stinkerbell was headed home with me, to live happily ever after.

Blog Med Sig 4

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Turn

Has the Holy Spirit ever whispered something so sweet that it just inspires you to create something in response?

Listening closely,
Blog Med Sig 4

Friday, May 7, 2010

Joybird's Kitchen: Fancy Water

We had a birthday party for my aunt which allowed me to do this great party recipe.  Without further ado, fresh from my kitchen, it's Fancy Water. (insert oohs and ahhs here.)

Warning: This recipe is for advanced chefs only.  It involves difficult tasks like cutting with sharp knives and pouring water.  Be sure that you are ready to take this on.  I offer you many pictures so that you can truly understand this complicated recipe.

Just kidding.  I have actually given you tons of photos for this recipe because I discovered the back lit setting on my point-and-shoot camera and because the ingredients are so pretty.  I like pretty.

What we need: 2-3 gallons of bottled water, 2 oranges, 2 apples, fresh mint, fresh strawberries

Rinse the mint in cold water and pat dry on a clean kitchen towel.  I am using one package of organic mint.  I don't know how much is in a package because I already threw it away, so the amount will have to remain "one package". 

Rinse the strawberries and allow them to drain.  See, aren't they pretty.  Wasn't that worth three pictures of such a simple task?

Pour the bottled water into your serving container.  I only add one gallon in this picture and the other later, but now I've decided that doesn't work as well.  So add both gallons now.  (Hold the third gallon in reserve in case you have to add more water during the party.)  Hmmm.  I don't think I made this step confusing at all.

Note: I'm a bit of a bottled water connoisseur.   You kind of have to be if you live in an area with yucky tap water, like I do.  My personal preference is Sparkletts.  If you have yummy, fresh, delicious water that comes straight from your tap, please stop bragging.  And yes, if you insist, you may use it in this recipe.

Next rinse the oranges and slice them into thick slices.  Any kind of orange will do.  I used Cara Cara oranges because I was hoodwinked intrigued by the grocery store sign that promised a sweet orange with "raspberry overtones."  I can't say I tasted the raspberry overtones but the oranges looked a little raspberry.

Onward and upward.  Float the orange slices in the water.

Now, core and slice the apples.  As with the oranges, you want nice, thick slices.  I love the way the apple skin makes ribbons of color.  Again, the word of the day, pretty.

OK, change in plans.  I hope you have some lemon or lime juice in the frig.  I notice that the apples began browning right away where I cored them.  So I quickly tossed them in the lime juice.  The acid should stop the browning and a big part of Fancy Water is the visual beauty of the fruit. 

Slip the apple slices into the pool with the oranges.

This step may seem obvious but stick with me:  pat the strawberries dry.  If not the icky tap water may infiltrate your yummy Fancy Water.  May I repeat, if your tap water is delish, shh, no bragging.

Pick ten or so of the prettiest strawberries and remove the tops. 

Invite the strawberries to join the party.

Using one of my favorite tools, kitchen shears, cut the mint leaves off of the stems.

I don't add all of the mint leaves.  Notice how the leaves on the right have oxidized (is that the right word?) and are black around the edges.  I don't think that will actually change the taste but it does affect how appealing the final result will be. 

Sprinkle the mint leaves over the fruit and gently mix.

I added the other gallon of water in this picture but hopefully you did that earlier (unless I totally confused you).  If you notice the water becomes cloudy, don't worry about it.  It's just little bits of fruit and they should settle at the bottom.

Finally, my famous (at least in my mind) Fancy Water.  Very simple, but fragrant, refreshing and can I say it?


Pretty, pretty, pretty.

Thank you. 

The flavors get richer as it sits. Your guests will enjoy it and if there is any left you can remove the fruit and store the water in the refrigerator.  With the fruit removed the water should keep for about a week. 

Now here's the short version of that long story. 
Fancy Water
• 2 – 3 gallons of water
• 2 oranges
• 2 apples
• 1 lb strawberries
• 1 package of mint
• lemon or lime juice if needed

Preparation Instructions
First, rinse and pat dry the mint. Then rinse and drain the fruit. Pour 2 gallons of the water into the dispenser. Slice the oranges thickly and add to the water. Core the apples and cut them into thick slices. Pat the strawberries dry and cut off their tops. Drop them into the water. Cut off the best mint leaves and also add them to the water. Gently stir. Allow to sit and serve cold.
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

You are Gold

You may remember a couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about human trafficking and my friend, Krista, who is on the front lines, ministering to women working in the sex industry.  When I read her blog I am challenged to do something to combat this scourge on our planet.  And this week I did.

On special occasions and holidays the team that Krista works with brings gifts for the women, both in the brothel and on the street. It‘s a tangible way to show these precious people that they are seen, valued and loved, simply for who they are, with no strings attached. It’s a way to show them that God sees, values and loves them.  This week the women at my church are helping.

We are handcrafting 250 bracelets for Krista’s team to give. I didn’t make a ton, just a few. But in a small way I am standing up to this unimaginably large problem, one bracelet at a time. I am telling one woman, on the other side of the world, in desperate circumstances;

I see you.

I value you.

I love you.

And I am not alone.

There is a whole group of us. We have been given freedom from Our Savior’s own scarred hands. We are not blameless women. We have experienced our own prisons. And we stand as a testament to the truth of His freedom and say; “We are committed to your freedom. We are committed to giving you the opportunity to live in the same freedom we have been given. We will fight for you. To us and God, you are gold! “

Blog Med Sig 4
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