Monthly Archives: May 2011
I began the Memorial Day weekend with my first garage sale finds of the season!
It looks like our weather forecast is calling for some sunshine this weekend so if I can get the deck cleaned off I am hoping we can enjoy grilling and eating outside a time or two. I have shared some Memorial Day recipes in the past and even more than once, so I thought I would share a couple new ones for this year. Similar recipes for taquitos can be found all over online but this is the one I tweaked several times and I am pleased with the results. The Ginger Lemon Pie is my take on Mrs. Rowe’s famous Lemon Pie recipe. Enjoy!
makes 2 dozen, can be frozen and cooked at a
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup salsa
juice of one freshly squeezed lime
2 TBS. minced garlic
½ cup finely chopped cilantro
½ package taco seasoning
4 finely chopped green onions, green part included
4 cups shredded cooked chicken or grilled chicken or steak cut into small pieces
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
24 6-inch flour tortillas
Optional: black beans, frozen corn, and/or red and green peppers can be added.
Hot oil for frying or cooking spray for baking
Combine all ingredients except tortillas in bowl and mix well. Keep tortillas at room temperature so they can be easily rolled. Place a scant ¼ cup of the filling in the middle of each tortilla and roll lightly. Place seam side down on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Spray tops of tortillas with cooking spray and bake at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes or can also be fried in hot oil for a few minutes, then drained. You can also wrap and place the uncooked taquitos in the freezer before cooking to save for future use. Serve with sour cream, more salsa, and guacamole if desired.
Refreshing Ginger Lemon Pie
½ cup plus 2 TBS. finely crushed gingersnap cookie crumbs
¾ cup plus 2 TBS. finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbs. sugar
¼ cup melted butter
Mix all ingredients together and press into 9 inch pie plate. Bake for 5-6 minutes in 325 degree oven. Cool at least 30 minutes before filling.
1/3 cup lemon juice
¼ tsp. lemon extract
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 egg yolks
Fresh whipped cream, Redi-Whip or Coolwhip
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine the lemon juice and extract. Pour in milk and blend on low speed with mixer. Add the egg yolks and continue mixing until well blended. Pour into pie crust and bake for 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for about an hour and then chill well before serving. Top with whipped cream and a little lemon zest if desired.
“Ruthie” and “George” share stories of their lives from times past.
“You are your stories. You are the product of all the stories you have heard and lived, and of many that you have never heard. They have shaped how you see yourself, the world, and your place in it. Your first great storytellers were home, school, church, and even popular culture. Stories link past, present, and future in a way that tells us where we have been, even before we were born, where we are, and where we could be going. They teach us that there is a place for us, that we fit. They tell us that our lives have meaning. To be a person is to have a story to tell.” ~ Daniel Taylor
Storytelling is the oldest form of communication known to man and until the advent of the written word, it was the chosen way to pass along cultural histories to the next generation. In more recent years, storytelling has become both an art form and, believe it or not, a method of communication used within the corporate world. Good and relevant speeches and sermons usually contain at least one interesting story to bring home an important point and families are often bound together through the collection of stories that represent their commitments to one another.
The homeschooled students in my public speaking class just completed an amazing storytelling project with last week’s presentation of To Tell A Story. I am not sure I had anticipated the impact the evening might have on the audience but was so pleased to hear from several people who shared with me how valuable it was to be able to participate in the project. I thought you might enjoy hearing about it and maybe even consider planning such an event with your own family.
The first step is to record taped interviews with family members or friends, asking them to share stories that they would feel comfortable having presented in front of an audience. I gave each of my students a list of suggested questions* to ask and gave them plenty of time to conduct their interviews. Most of them used the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to talk with family members.
Once the interviews were completed, the students then transcribed, word for word, what they had been told. They then e-mailed their finished papers to me and I edited them for brevity and clarity while maintaining the integrity of what had been shared. For the most part, all of the finished stories were told in the exact words of the original storytellers!
At this point, I selected a variety of stories and assigned them to each student to memorize and interpret for an audience, using the basic principles of storytelling we had discussed in class. Each one could have presented an individual story but I chose to write a script around the ones I had been given and turned it into a play format. Using a minimal set and a few props to help determine the time frame of the story and age of the storyteller, the students presented an evening of storytelling that included tales from 4 generations, including personal stories from the Great Depression and World War 2.
Besides the intent to teach students basic storytelling technique, I had several other goals I felt we accomplished. First, the students had an increased awareness of and appreciation for the stories of other people’s lives through both their triumphs and tragedies. Many chose to interview grandparents and a closer relationship developed between them as the interviews progressed. What a great way to practice Relationship Homeschooling!!!
Secondly, as we read through the script together for the first time, the class was introduced to new vocabulary words and ideas that gave us a great opportunity for discussion. One of the storytellers, for example, shared his experience as a soldier in Europe who helped to treat displaced persons from the Bergen-Belson concentration camp. Many of the students had not yet studied Hitler’s regime and none of them had heard first hand stories from this time in history so it prompted some to go home and do further study. We also talked about how language has changed through the years as we read phrases that were popular with past generations and seem funny to us now!
Finally, the performance itself was so well received that you could have heard a pin drop in the room! One mom told me she wished there had been even more stories and several commented about how meaningful it was to actually see a family member’s life as a young person depicted on the stage. Another mom told me that they were now determined to interview grandparents when they got home and to preserve their own family stories for future generations!
Let me encourage you to consider planning such an evening! What a wonderful way of talking with your children about the sovereignty of God in our lives and how His plan for each of us is like one large tapestry where all our lives are interwoven for His glory, one story at a time!
“Young Ruthie” remembers her life as a young mom raising four boys.
“Uncle Steve” entertains the audience with his exploits as a teenager growing up in a small Illinois town.
What a privilege to work with such an awesome group of homeschooled kids!
“Young George” with the real veteran, Pete Taraboletti, whose service to our country was so aptly shared!
*These are the instructions I gave each students along with some suggested questions to get them started on the process!
This project begins with each student selecting and interviewing someone they think will have interesting and/or unusual stories that could be shared with an audience. Use the attached list of questions as a starting off point but make your interview personal and interesting. Be sure to let the interviewee know beforehand that this is for a school project and that their life stories will possibly be turned into part of a play. (Depending on the length and type of stories we get, we may or may not be able to use all of them. And it will be fun to invite these people to the play and let them see their lives on stage!) When you are finished recording, you need to make a transcript of the interview by writing it down, word for word. This will take some time and I don’t mind if siblings work on the project together, perhaps all interviewing the same person together. It is up to you. Be sure you get their words exactly as they spoke them. That will be what creates the character for the production.
Once you bring in all the transcript, I will begin going through them and selecting which ones will work best for turning into small scenes in a play. Then I will pick students from the class to play the different characters.
Everyone will portray someone but probably not the person you interview! This will work best if we have a variety of people interviewed…elderly people, middle-aged people, children, men, women, etc. It will also be best if you think of people who have interesting stories to tell…immigrants, war veterans, missionaries, couples who adopted children, moms with birth stories to tell, etc, and if some are serious and dramatic and others are humorous. Just about everyone can tell about their feelings on 9-11 and the days right afterwards, for example. Everyone has a story and they are all woven into the beautiful tapestry of life that God has ordained. It will be our goal to tell some of these stories and show our audience what an amazing and sovereign God we have who works out the details of our lives every single day! Aren’t you excited?
Here are some starting off questions you could ask or topics you could cover; (these are just some ideas) and please feel free to use your own…that will make it more interesting and personal! Ask your mom and dad for suggestions about questions they think would be good.
How did you meet your spouse? (Best if this is someone married 50 plus years!) Ask them to describe the day, what they were wearing, what they were doing. (This could be a cute “couple” interview.)
What is the best decade of your life?
When did you know you were called to be a pastor/missionary? Tell me a story when the Lord confirmed that to you.
What is the most difficult thing about being your age? (elderly and kids….hilarious answers expected!)
What is your favorite food? What do you like to do in your spare time? What is your hobby? Why?
How did you become a Christian?
What person has influenced you the most? Why?
Tell me a story about your grandmother/grandfather.
Describe growing up in your town/city.
If you could go back and do something different in life, what might you have done? What interests do you have that you wish you would have pursued?
Tell about a memory of a happy family vacation.
Recall a family story you have heard many times.
Tell about an occasion that brought your family together.
My sweet and newest little baboo! Isn’t she precious!!!
Life has been so hectic this past month but, Lord-willing, I think we are soon to be past the crazy and back on track. I have had some major writing projects in the works along with an end-of-the-year homeschool public speaking project I look forward to sharing with you. Clay has had the busiest two months at work I can ever remember, working lots of weekends and having little to no time at home, thus, the podcast schedule has been on hold! We have lots of great things, coming, however and look forward to sharing some awesome interviews and some great times in the Word together. Here are a few links I have been wanting to post for a while…..
A cousin to the Botkin sisters of So Much More fame writes her thoughts on young women and college. These are some great insights!
A while back I shared an article with you on the Family Integrated church movement by Pastor Shawn Mathis. If you haven’t yet read it, I encourage you to check it out and be sure to read the many comments. A young man who is employed by the National Center for Family Integrated Church (Scott Brown’s group) has joined the respectful and enlightening discussion. Now Shawn has added more thoughts in a second article….lots of good information in these two pieces. Though this is a growing movement that is perhaps burning brightly now, I think it will burn itself out and fizzle sooner rather than later.
And speaking of burning and fizzling, I added this link if you are planning a wedding or other momentous celebration! Half the fun is what happens with your cursor!
Needing a little homeschooling mom inspiration? This great piece speaks to what I have experienced in talking with hundreds of grown homechooolers through the years. What a delight homechooled children are!!!!!
And speaking of inspiration, this blog is so lovely and inspiring, I know you will enjoy every entry! Erin is my daughter’s friend and I am told that every recipe is as delicious as it looks. I can safely say the ones I have tried certainly attest to that fact!
And speaking of inspiration, J.J. Heller has a new CD out that you will love as much as her previous gifts of grace to the body of Christ. Here is a little taste…..
“But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” ~ 2 Corinthians 3:15-18
June is fast approaching, the traditional month for weddings. “They say if you marry in June,” according to one of the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, “you’re a bride all your life.”
I love going to weddings, listening to the prelude in anticipation of the bride and her attendants coming down the aisle. I love the expression on the groom’s face as he beholds his beautiful bride for the first time in her wedding finery. I love watching the mixed emotion of parents who are seeing their children leave their own homes and cleave to another person who is now part of a family that will forever be changed. I cry every single time.
I have attended many weddings through the years and am still enchanted by the mystery that unfolds as the bride’s veil is lifted. She is always beautiful, always radiant, always a reflection of her husband’s love. There is no longer anything separating the man and woman; they are pronounced “one flesh” and are not to be torn apart. The lifting of the veil implies intimacy in all aspects of their relationship; it symbolically states that nothing should stand between them, that, “I am my beloved’s and he is mine.”
In 2 Corinthians 3:15-18, Paul is reminding the believers in the Corinthian church of their position now that they have “turned to the Lord,” that is, have come to Christ in repentance of their sins. The veil that separated us from God and from seeing His reflection, as was the case with Moses, is now gone. Paul is taking them back to the truth that Christ’s atoning death on the cross tore down the veil to the Holy of Holies, giving us complete and unfettered access to Him; he is saying that we are to dwell in close, communion with the Lord, free from the bondage we experienced when we were condemned by the law. As believers, we are now in an intimate, up-close-and-personal relationship with God. The Holy Spirit, part of the eternal godhead, mysteriously dwells within us giving us liberty in Christ, enabling us to enjoy such freedom, guiding and leading us in joyful obedience. We are now free to live without the veil.
Recently a friend shared with me her concern that so many of her friends are becoming attracted to church and parachurch groups where believers are continually given legalistic lists as their standards rather than receiving the encouragement to walk in a close relationship with Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Christians are choosing to live as though the veil was still intact and they are content to keep Jesus at arm’s length. I, too, have watched this and have concluded that there several reasons for it:
1. Spiritual disciplines become the standard of measure in our lives rather than the fruits of the spirit that are produced as we walk and live in the power of God’s grace. We employ a spiritual check list: Bible reading, check. Prayer time, check. Witness to my neighbor, check. Attend church, check. Our relationship to Christ is reduced to a list of things we did rather than living in awe at what He has already done! Yes, these things are a means of growth but they aren’t the growth itself.
2. We think abstaining from some list makes us holy. Didn’t party, check. Didn’t look inside the Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, check. Didn’t allow anyone to watch an R-rated movie, check. Didn’t gossip, check. Didn’t wear blue jeans, check. Our obedience to Christ is evaluated by what we avoided, giving us a false sense of holiness that is really just pride. And guess what? Cults are full of people who live the same lifestyle you live, who maintain the same list! In truth, the only thing that makes us righteous is the blood of Christ.
3. We have sin that is pushed down deep inside and we don’t want to deal with it. It is so much easier to stay inside the veil in a nice safe spot where we think those sins don’t matter and where people cannot see the real us. I love that hopeful look on the face of a new homeschooler who imagines she will have a blissful existence if she brings their children all home to school! The reality is that the closeness we experience in our homes will not allow for our inner struggles to remain buried. In fact, they will rise to the surface faster than fat in a cooling pot of chicken stew once we are in each other’s lives in such an intense way! The beauty of this is that those struggles can be the beginning of seeing God’s grace work in each individual person and in each relationship. We miss the grace if we don’t allow that sin to surface! Jonah 2:8 is one of my favorite verses that reminds me of such folly: “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.”
4. We have a skewed view of who we actually are in Christ and we forget that we are now adopted sons and daughters (Ephesians 1). In the Roman culture, adopted children were usually adopted out of slavery and were brought into the family not only by the will of the father but for the benefit of both the person being adopted and the rest of the family as well. They were considered to be on equal standing with other children and entered into a close and loving relationship with the adoptive parents. In using the analogy of adoption, Paul is identifying us as no longer being slaves but as beloved children and, in fact, we are now joint heirs with Christ! (Romans 8:17) And 1 Peter 2:9 goes on to described us as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession.” The lifting of the veil enabled us to enter into a new relationship with a holy and righteous and infinite creator God! We are His beloved and He is ours!
I have a lazy old Tom cat who spends many hours rolling around in the middle of my kitchen floor, wallowing in the warmth and goodness he finds there. He is never more content than when he is in this position. Brothers and sisters, I am praying that you will be just like that cat! Embrace your position in Christ, live the truth that the veil is gone, and wallow in His goodness and grace to you as his son or daughter, as His radiant bride!
Author Tim Kimmel shared this helpful diagram a while back. I think it is an excellent way of looking at what a grace-based, lifted-veil life should be!
The Obedience-based Life vs. The Grace-based Life
You live to please God vs. You live to trust God
A performance vs. A relationship
A duty vs. A delight
Predictable vs. Fluid
Promotes fear vs. Promotes faith
Creates worry vs. Creates calm
Masked vs. Transparent
Critical Spirit vs. Compassionate Spirit
Sense a lot of guilt vs. Sense a lot of freedom
Inclines towards pridefulness vs. Inclines you towards humility
Outside-in management vs. Inside-out surrender
For “church” people vs. For everybody
More natural vs. More supernatural
Focuses on being good vs. Focuses on being connected
Lends itself to self-righteousness vs. Lends itself to organic obedience
My mom and me at family reunion, 1957.
In my mom’s tiny galley kitchen, amazing and delicious things happened. On weekends when I came home from college, she always had a pot of spaghetti simmering on the stove, knowing that eating it cold for breakfast was high on my list of at-home activities. Spring days like today found her picking fresh rhubarb from my dad’s garden for baking pies for our regular Sunday dinners. And riding home on the school bus was made bearable knowing that her old fashioned baked bean pot was full, not of beans, but freshly baked oatmeal cookies!
Here is my muffin recipe, created for this Mother’s Day in honor of my mom and her best oatmeal cookies ever! They would be wonderful on a Mother’s Day Brunch table or tucked away in someone dear’s lunch box this week!
Mama’s Oatmeal Cookie Muffins
3 cups white flour
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
½ cup melted butter
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups milk (can substitute with half and half, evaporated milk, or part yogurt for a richer taste)
zest of one lemon
1 to 1½ c. dried cranberries
1 c. chopped walnuts
2 TBS. melted butter
Cinnamon and sugar
Mix dry ingredients. Combine liquids and mix together gently. Stir in zest, walnuts, and cranberries. Spray cooking spray in muffins tins. Fill 2/3 full and bake for 14-15 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven. Remove from tins and cool on rack, brushing tops with butter and sprinkling with cinnamon and sugar while still warm. Makes 2 dozen little bits of heavenly goodness and can be frozen! Serve warm with hot coffee and love.
And may I wax eloquent about the love affair I am having with my silicone basting brush? Seriously, bestest kitchen tool ever! No more gloppy, messy, greasy brushes. No more permanently deformed ones coming out of the dishwasher! $10.00. Target. Worth every penny!
Meg Mosely’s new book is being released today and what a read it is! When Sparrows Fall is a journey into the world of a young homeschooling widow whose patriocentric and cult-like church has little understanding of what it means to truly take care of widows and orphans. The herione’s story could belong to any who have walked along her path and makes for a compeling story. My only criticism of the book? It ended too soon!
OPC Pastor Shawn Mathis has some good insights and choice words for the Family Integrated Church movement and shares them in this article with the promise of more to come. Be sure to read through the comments for some helpful perspectives and respectful discussion on a movement that is having tremendous impact within the hoemscooling world.
Eric Pazdziora has written, hands down, the best evaluation of the current betrothal trend among patriocentric homeschooling families! I can’t really even give it justice to comment other than to tell you to read it. Now.
Washington Post writer Paula Kirby wrote this painful assessment of the problems women face within the body of Christ. We need to not blow this one off….this woman speaks for many and if we are serious about our Christianity we need to examine what she is saying. How does this apply to homeschoolers? I believe it has much to do with how we raise our daughters and how we train our sons to treat their sisters in Christ.
If any of this patriocentricity stuff is new information to you, you might want to check out Christianity Today’s thoughts on stay at home daughters, which is central to patriocentric teachings.
“He that demands mercy and shows none ruins the bridge over which he himself is to pass.” ~ Thomas Adams
Gorgeous spring days like today bring back the best of memories…. tulips in full bloom, singing birds greeting each new day, lilacs scenting the air with the loveliest of perfume. May has arrived, one of God’s good gifts to us.
Yesterday I was reminded of other May Days so long ago when I would find a treasured May basket hanging on the front door. There were twin girls in my grade at school who made the most beautiful cone-shaped creations fashioned from lace doilies and filled with candy or bouquets of wild violets from the woods. It always made me feel so special to find such a gift of friendship.
Our first year of homeschooling was a rough one. Tensions among the leadership in our church were growing and it was no secret that the pastor’s encouragement of home discipleship was part of the problem that led to his dismissal. As I began to hear negative comments about homeschooling and large families coming even from those I had felt close to over the years, a sense of betrayal gave way to a growing bitterness I had trouble shaking. How could people who had shared with me during Bible study and prayer time now see me as a threat because of my convictions on raising my children? Weren’t they supposed to be encouraged as fellow believers took steps of faith?
Hebrews 12:15 admonishes us to “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Reading that passage, I did not want to miss the grace of God and I really did not want to see it take hold and defile my children who were also feeling the strain of what was happening around us. I purposed that we had to pursue God’s grace and knew the best way was to bless rather than curse those who had, in some sense, become our enemies.
When the children came down for breakfast on April 30th, they found the school room table full of craft supplies…doilies, ribbon, pastel construction paper, pipe cleaners, etc. I told them the story of my childhood May baskets and we read back through the Sermon on the Mount and what Jesus had commanded us to do when personally harmed by the actions or words of others. We spent much of the morning crafting baskets and set them aside for the glue and paint to dry.
The next morning we got up with the chickens and filled our baskets with fresh flowers and candies. The children had written sweet notes with encouraging Bible verses on them and away we went before the sun came up. I had made a list of those in the church I had personally known who had harmed us with their words and we left a basket hanging on each door knob, quietly slipping away before anyone saw us. We wanted to bless each person without any strings attached. We never heard a word about those gifts and I still smile when I think about how surprised those ladies probably were!
But let me tell you about the best part of our May basket moment because I am not even sure my own children knew exactly what had happened to me that morning.
As they took turns getting out of the car and running up to each house, I prayed for each person who would open the door and find them. I asked the Lord to give me His grace to love them and even enough to help me not be angry if they were hurtful to us in the future. As I sat in the car, I had such a sense of that prayer being answered, of God’s grace pouring down over me, convicting me of my own sins and unkindness, of granting me forgiveness, and giving me genuine compassion and care for the ones who would find these early morning, early spring treasures. We had not missed His grace and I am reminded of that grace daily as He continues to pour it out, but especially when I see a lovely spring day and violets in the woods and May baskets!