Saturday, December 29, 2007


My man and his dad have been working on building a full set of kitchen cabinets for my man's family's house for the past several months, and this week saw the first install! They are solid wood, built beautifully and painted a rich creamy color. On Christmas morning we were able to watch them put in the first unit: a broom closet and pantry for one wall of the kitchen. The vacation time that my man gets between Christmas and New Year is a good time to make progress on his family's kitchen. All of the units are built now, and my man and his dad have drawer making, painting, and some kitchen remodeling to do yet. It is encouraging to see the progress of actually having some of the cabinets in. So this evening I took a few pictures of my man's handiwork.

Can you believe this is from a man whose specialty is metal-working and mechanics? His work is always well done whatever it is he's doing. Simply beautiful.

I Have Nothing

take these hands
and lift them up
for I have not the strength to praise You near enough
see I have nothing
I have nothing
without You

take my voice
and pour it out
let it sing the songs of mercy I have found
for I have nothing
I have nothing
without You

all my soul needs
is all Your love to cover me
so all the world will see
that I have nothing without You

take my body
and build it up
may it be broken as an offering of love
for I have nothing
I have nothing
without You

all my soul needs
is all Your love to cover me
so all the world will see
that I have nothing
but I love You

with all my heart
with all my soul
with all my mind
and all the strength that I can find

take my time here on this earth
let it glorify all that You are worth
for I have nothing
I have nothing
without You

~from Bebo Norman's album "Try"

Thursday, December 27, 2007

a happy little mama

Lookie what I got for Christmas!
Newborn sized chinese prefold diapers (from Green Mountain Diapers) and a sampling of their Nappy pins. I cannot wait to start washing the diapers to get them all soft and quilted for Baby.

Family Christmas Coziness

Art by my lovely sister -- a Christmas card for me!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Family fellowshipping together in the Lord...celebrating Christ's coming to earth.

Dinner, talking, sunshine, snow and blizzard conditions, homemade Christmas goodies & gifts, celebrating my man's and my anniversary with both of our families, leaving late in the evening ~'::

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

sola scriptura

Do you have a grasp of the importance of the Scripture? Are you so overwhelmed by the treasure you have in it that you cannot stop studying it?

"Wisdom comes from God and it comes through His Word. And apart from His Word there is no real spiritual wisdom....
"The diligence with which you approach the study of Scripture which is so critical to the blessing of your life, so critical to your joy, so critical to your usefulness, so critical to the glory of God, the diligence with which you approach this critical study of Scripture is directly correlated to your view of Scripture...directly. If you have a weak view of Scripture, I promise you you will have a weak interest in it. It is the seriousness with which you hold this document that is the initial compelling matter to motivate you in its study." ~John MacArthur

I would encourage you to listen to this recent radio series by John MacArthur with me and learn:


The Character of God's Word, HERE (part one) 11/26/07 and HERE (part two) 11/27/07

What It Takes To Study God's Word, HERE (part one) 11/28/07 and HERE (part two) 11/29/07

The Inspiration of Scripture, HERE (part one) 11/30/07 and HERE (part two) 12/3/07

How to Study Your Bible: Interpretation, HERE (part one) 12/4/07 and HERE (part two) 12/5/07

How to Study Your Bible: Closing the Gaps, HERE (part one) 12/6/07 and HERE (part two) 12/7/07

I have been listening to this series while I did my sewing projects this week and have found it to be such a helpful reminder and re-focuser (is that even a word?). I pray that I would treasure the Word of God above all things!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


a true witness

"When will we realize that the world is not impressed with the religious version of itself? Our greatest effectiveness, our greatest weapon is not found in being like the world, but in being different from the world, in being like Jesus....
The church has been waiting for the world to get right with God. I think we need to realize that the world is waiting for the church to get right with God....
When we, the people of God, humble ourselves, when we turn from our wicked ways, then the world will have a reason to know and to believe that our gospel is true and that our God is real. Then many of them will fall down and worship Him as well."

~Quote from transcript of Nancy Leigh DeMoss's radio program from 10/16/07 in the series "Seeking Him--Holiness: A Heart Like His" (emphasis mine)~

Monday, December 10, 2007

evening and lights

Making Turkey Broth

Yesterday we had a lovely fellowship dinner with a like-minded church that joined with us for our services and annual harvest banquet. The ladies of our church put on a lovely meal, in the typical Thanksgiving dinner style (turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, salads, pie). The nifty thing was that they let me take home the carcasses from two of the turkeys that they roasted! So today I am making broth from the bones. I first roasted the bones themselves at 425 F until they got all sizzly, a bit golden, and slightly brittle. While those were roasting away, I chopped the other things for my broth flavor. I had had the job of chopping up three bags of celery for the stuffing on Sunday, so I had quite a lot of celery ends and middles leftover from that. I got out my lovely big stockpot and put a couple of chopped onions in with my celery ends. When the bones were lovely and roasted, I took them out of the oven and used a pair of pliers to break open the middles so that the good marrow inside could come out and flavor the broth, and then I added them to my onions and celery in the stockpot. I poured enough purified water over it all to cover by a couple of inches and set it to simmer on top of my stove. So now it is there steaming away...taking every bit of goodness and flavor from those wonderful turkey bones. I will have to decide how exactly I will use the good broth. Dumpling soup with dumplings made from the schmaltz that I collected from the gravy broth? Or little homemade cubes of broth concentrate (like Mama makes in her ice cube trays)? I will have to ponder this well. It is not often that I have such treasure about my kitchen!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Word Became Flesh

"It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the profoundest and most unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. 'The Word became flesh' (Jn 1:14); God became man; the divine Son became a Jew; the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. And there was no illusion or deception in this: the babyhood of the Son of God was a reality. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this truth of the Incarnation.... The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity--hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory--because at the Father's will Jesus Christ became poor and was born in a stable so that thirty years later he might hang on a cross. It is the most wonderful message that the world has ever heard, or will hear."

~J. I. Packer, Knowing God (chapter 5 "God Incarnate")

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


"O Source of all good,
What shall I render to thee for the gift of gifts, thine own dear Son...
Herein is wonder of wonders:
he came below to raise me above,
was born like me that I might become like him...
O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
and enlarge my mind:
let me hear good tidings of great joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father;
place me with ox, ass, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my Redeemer's face,
and in him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child
to my heart,
embrace him with undying faith,
exulting that he is mine and I am his.
In him thou hast given me so much
that heaven can give no more."

~ From The Valley of Vision

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


The Mother Sauces

"A sauce is not, as is sometimes thought, an infallible sign that the cook is a master of his or her art, for no sauce, however carefully made, will disguise poorly cooked food. Nevertheless, a good sauce is the crowning achievement of a truly accomplished cook, for, with the aid of sauces, knowingly prepared, a cook may turn the humblest ingredients into appetizing fare.

The thickening agents or liasons for sauces are flour, the most generally used; yolk of egg (which gives a far richer flavor to a sauce, but which must be handled carefully); rice; and beurre manie--butter and flour blended together and dropped into liquids to thicken them. The proportions of butter and flour in beurre manie are about equal, or, sometimes, two parts flour to one of butter.

There are certain basic sauces to which other ingredients are often added for variations on the single theme. In France, these are called the "mother sauces" and they include a white sauce, or Bechamel (sometimes called sauce Allemande), brown sauce or Espagnole, and mayonnaise, which is the base for many other sauces.

Basic White or Cream Sauce

1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour

Blend butter and flour in top of double boiler. (The mixture of butter and flour over heat, basic to most sauces, is called a "roux.") Stir milk in gradually, using a spoon or whisk. Continue stirring until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Add salt and allow sauce to cook over hot water about 5 minutes.

Cream Sauce
Make the roux described above and add 1 cup cream instead of milk. Season to taste.

Bechamel Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 small onion, sliced
1 small carrot, sliced
1/4 bay leaf
4 peppercorns
Sprig of parsley
1/4 cup heavy cream

Make a roux by combining flour and butter in top of a double boiler or in a saucepan. Simmer chicken broth 10 minutes with onion, carrot, bay leaf, peppercorns, and parsley. Strain broth and add it to roux stirring constantly. Continue cooking until thickened. Stir in heavy cream and cook 5 minutes."

From The Fireside Cookbook by James A. Beard

The beauties of a properly made white sauce or bechamel are truly underestimated. Last night, for example, I was able to make a delicious supper for my man using some rather bland and boring ingredients. I would encourage you to perfect the art of making the "mother sauces". It will be such a useful skill to have. You will be able to make a nice meal out of an assortment of ingredients that you might not otherwise have been able to pull together well. This knowledge definitely helps to stretch the grocery budget!
So...for the Parmesan Sauce with Chicken that I discovered last night at suppertime.
First, I had a chicken breast thawed, which I poached, cooled and cubed. For the sauce I made a variation on the bechamel. I don't make mine over a double-boiler (mostly because I don't have one, and Mama taught me to make a white sauce without one...probably because she didn't have one either!), but you really do have to stay with the sauce and always be stirring to make sure that it doesn't stick.* My man bought me the loveliest little [red!] nonstick skillet for my last birthday which I use, but, because of its nice surface, I use a wooden spoon to make my sauces instead of a wire whisk, which means that I have to be extra careful to keep them smooth. Actually measuring the butter and flour is important as well. In a pinch, you can just eyeball the measurements, but it doesn't turn out quite as nice. I had some good chicken broth leftover from dinner, which had been simmered with a bruised garlic clove and had a touch of cayenne and lemon juice added to it (to make a hot drink for my man...Mama's inspiration again!), which I used to flavor the sauce. I also used milk instead of cream because I didn't want it to be too thick (but I did want it to be creamy). The sauce was beautiful. It sent me into raptures. It looked like glossy satin and had an equally smooth texture on the tongue. Mmmm. I then sprinkled Parmesan over it, stirring over a low heat so that the cheese would melt in. I added the Parmesan to taste, remembering that although the sauce itself was soon perfect (for me anyway...) I still had to add [bland] chicken and put it over pasta. The cheese thickens the sauce a bit too, so that is why I left it a little thinner before. I also did not add any salt, which a person might get in the habit of making simple white or cream sauces, because I knew that I would be adding chicken broth and Parmesan cheese later; and I was right, by the time I was done it was perfect. (But you already would have left it out if you were following the Venerable Beard's recipe from above!) All that was left to me now, was to add the chicken and make sure it was warmed through before serving. It was simply amazing to taste.

So, all of that rambling to say this: You can make the best sauces in your very own kitchen using simple ingredients that you probably can manage to have around you. No MSG, no artificial anythings, or preservative thus-and-so's. I would encourage you to learn this art! Not just for Parmesan chicken sauce. Any "cream of" soup that you could buy in a can is something that you can duplicate with more real flavor than you would have had otherwise.

Post Script: The herby garnish thing that you can see in the photo of last night's supper was a sprig of Rosemary from the bush that I overwinter in my kitchen. Although I didn't actually use Rosemary in the recipe, it seems to me that it would go well alongside this. Say, in a Rosemary and lemon foccacia. Ummm...I'm inspired!

*The beauties of a gas stove cannot be over-emphasized here. The ability to control the heat by changing the size of your flame is helpful, and, dare I say, almost necessary to make a good sauce. But, if you stay on top of how your sauce is doing, you will be able to give a close approximation, so do not worry if you use electric.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Time to Stand and Stare

"When the busy summer time and early autumn were over, the tourist trade finished for the season, and the harvest safely gathered in once more, then came the happiest time of the year for me. I used to rush about the house on Saturday mornings to get my work done quickly and to prepare an early dinner; then the children and I would go for happy, exhilarating walks along the country lanes which were edged with the golden-brown bracken. Sometimes we went down the rough path, red with beech leaves, beside the roaring torrent, or along the old Roman road that cuts through the farm and is lost in the drive. To take this long disused track we had to climb goodness knows how many six-foot dry-stone walls until at last we found ourselves away up on the moors amid the heather and the bogs where we could watch the storm clouds blowing in from the sea; then we would hurry back to get tea for Edward and grandma, and being as hungry as hunters ourselves we thoroughly enjoyed the meal. All through the winter those Saturday afternoon excursions were eagerly planned and gave us much pleasure, no matter what the weather might be.
When Rosemary was older she stayed at home sometimes to get tea, so that the other children and I might go farther afield and take a picnic meal with us. What joyous occasions those picnics were, sitting in the shelter of a wall with the wind whistling over our heads. In the keen bracing air those sandwiches and the hot tea from the flasks were food for the gods. I think those outings will hold happy memories for all of us."
~from the book Farm Wife, by Marion Roberts (1954)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


~orange cranberry walnut~


It has gone up a big nine-tenths of a degree since I woke up this now it's 4.1 degrees F. I am glad for a woodstove full of good logs. My porch windows are covered in the most lovely frost patterns. Like leaves they are. I love to see the rosy hues of the sunrise behind thick frost.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I was reading back over some blog posts from my dad-in-law's blog here at Toward a Godward Passion, and I found in this one a quote by a one Alleine that so beautifully illustrated a feeling that I know so well. You should go read it. "...Like the needle in the compass, that is restless till it be turned toward the pole." I love it.
These frosty, snowy balls hung from yarn that is as fluffy as a snowdrift make me so very happy. All we need is some snow on the ground to match them!