Thursday, June 23, 2011

its about time...

that i get around to seeing some NM history, landmarks, and important places.

Did you know that we have the oldest capitol city in the USA? yep.

Our day in Santa Fe started with meeting some friends at the Santa Fe Opera House for a behind-the-scenes tour. Unfortunately I was not allowed to take pictures in several of the stops...the Opera was one of them. It was fascinating though. So much goes on backstage--costume sewing/beading/fitting/creating, prop fabricating, musical practice/coaching, wig making, stage settings, lighting, and strict time management in order for everything to run together smoothly.

Afterwards we went to a french bakery that a dear friend works at, Clafoutis.

Following the Croque Madame (a grilled ham and gruyere cheese topped with a fried egg), we headed down town to the Plaza and The Palace of the Governors and an authentic print shoppe (still operating! apparently if you are there around Christmas you can make cards yourself).

Native American silver and turquoise and other semi-precious stone jewelry for sale spread out on blankets (these vendors line most of the plaza!)

a strange little door cut into huge double doors.

the boys and Judith

baskets of petunias hanging on the street lights of downtown


The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

The Loretta Chapel

the mysterious staircase (no nails, no middle support, unidentifiable wood, nameless carpenter, and originally no railing....until the nuns complained...lolol)


New Mexican art, what can I say?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

3 words, 8 letters: tying hearts together

it's that simple.

Then why do we forget?

3 words is dinner by candlelight. 3 words is doing someone else's chore. 3 words is a reassuring smile and knowing look. 3 words is taking time to talk. 3 words is a ring with a diamond. 3 words is a creamy cuppa. 3 words dying to self. 3 words is all it takes.

i. love. you.

These words are not so common these days. Maybe not in your home, but in our culture as a whole they have been stashed on the shelf. Even in Christian circles it raised a listener's eyebrows when I said "I love you," as I finished a phone conversation with Mother Dear. Doesn't everyone say that to their mom? When the day's been hectic and dinner is burnt but about ready and the table still isn't set, it's time to take a breath and remember another 10 minutes won't hurt. If someone never says a cheerful good morning or just has a sour expression, find a way to say I love you.

"If I have all faith, so as to move mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind; love does not envy nor boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrong doing, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends." 1 Corinthians 13:2b-8a

I know it's hard to love, truly love, those that seem unlovable. But, guess what? The Bible doesn't give us the option to opt out or wish things were different. Okay, funny story--at college I had this one "friend" that was really getting on my nerves and I was finding it hard to be pleasant. Well, I was about to complain to someone over the phone about her, but I we got disconnected. Okay, whatever. Study group 1/2hour later, yes, she was there. And we were assigned to work on something together. Arg. Then, I arrived at my Bible Study and guess who decided to join? Who sat next to me at church? Who kept bumping into me with a smile and cheerful hello? I was being stalked and I didn't appreciate that. Why doesn't she just STOP IT!?? (well maybe, partly, cause she didn't know.) God gave me so many opportunities to be kind and, through much prayer and confession, put aside my petty poison against her. We're still not the best of friends, but I can say I truly don't have a problem with her anymore--it was mostly stuff on my end anyway and once that was dealt with all the little things that annoyed me faded into the background. Strange how it works that often when a person ticks you off it's because they have/can do things that you can't and that makes them a terrible person.

We don't normally have trouble loving our friends or the cute little kids at church or people we don't brush shoulders with everyday. Our enemies need our love. Our neighbors need our love. Our family members need our love. And it isn't easy--it's painful, and takes a lot of prayer and intentionality. It's not something we can hurdle on our own, but with God's strength working through us, we can conquer! Words are not the only thing we can use to communicate this to others. Do something out of your way to bless that someone who's slowly crawling under your skin. Clean out your closet of all the things that you've stashed away for future bitterness and look at your nemesis with new eyes.

Love isn't black and white. It looks different day in a day out; a hug when I wake up, a kiss before Daddy leaves for work, a smile from a brother when I see him doing something nice for a sibling, a letter in the mail, a conversation with a friend, a bit of alone time, a schedule full of family-time, a whole day working, a meal served with thoughtfulness...and the list is endless. Say this, do that, and check off the box for the day. That's not the point and gets relationships no where. It's in the everyday comments and jokes and eye twinkles that you say i love you.

Give someone in your family an unexpected hug and whisper 3 words.

soft pretzels

here's a recipe for homemade pretzels. I made them last night--they were a huge i made them for dinner tonight too. =) here's the recipe. it's so easy and you don't have to boil them!!

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
stir together and set aside

a pinch of salt
3 cups flour
1 cup bread flour
mix and add the yeasty mixture. set in a greased bowl and let rest for an hour. measure 2 cups of tap water and stir in 2 tablespoons baking soda. divide the dough into 12 piece and roll out ropes. twist once and fold ends under (at the bottom). dunk the pretzel in the soda water--be sure to submerge. place on cookie sheet (i found it helpful to cook on parchment paper...the clean up is WAY easier!). preheat the oven to 450*, letting the pretzels rise while it heats up. bake for 8-10 minutes. remove from sheet and butter. sprinkle with salt, cinnamon sugar, parmesan, or your other favorite topping.

(before buttering)

(sesame seeds and salt)

(salt on one, cinnamon sugar on the other)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

lies of ancients vs. professed truisms of the moderns

Hillaire Belloc-
Legends old men tell are closer to the truth then the facts young professors tell. The wildest fairy tales of the ancients are far more realistic than the scientific phantasms imagined by moderns.

G.K. Chesterton-
We know a people takes something seriously if they are so serious about they are willing to lie about it.

Friday, June 10, 2011

chatter salted

Reading through Colossians recently, I was struck by 4:6
"Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person."
What's so important about salt? Why that mineral? Our speech is supposed to be salty?

Salt, residue from ocean water, that we collect it and sprinkle it on our food--what? It is harvested from salt water that is dried (either naturally or artificially) and it has made it's way into just about everything we eat. Yep. American food is laden with ocean dust. Appetizing, right? Well, yeah, if it's done well, it can turn a meal from edible into epicurean. Meats are preserved with salt, it is sprinkled into desserts, used to pickle vegetables, and enhance the flavors of other ingredients. But that's not all:
1). to keep cut flowers alive
2). to clean the house
3). to eliminate odors
4). to deter weeds and pests
5). to bring smiles to little people (through playdough)
6). to de-ice the drive way
7). to brighten a load of laundry
8). to promote healing (through medicine)
(and so many more)

When salt is scattered on the ground it kills everything and prevents anything from growing for a long time. That would make it seem like it's all bad right, i mean it kills things. But that's the paradox. A mineral that, like so much else in this world, is beneficial in small quantities is yet a toxin to most other living things and to mankind in larger doses. The human body can't function without it. Salt helps to maintain water levels in the blood and is a major component to the regulation of blood pressure. Get this, we even have specialized taste buds particularly for salty foods. Salt makes sweets sweeter and french fries that much better.

There are many different types of salts; large crystals and refined white grains, coarse pretzel rocks and gourmet flakes, pink salt seasoned with minerals and salt mixed with dried garlic and spices.

So how does all that tie into the Colossians verse?
Most recipes say to "salt to taste." How much is just right? Some foods need a lot of salt and some only the smallest of pinches, but still it's there, ever ready to lend a hand and support. In the same way, we are called to share with others the works of Christ in our lives, encourage friends who are down, laugh with joyful hearts, teach and correct and train-up children, keep in touch with old friends, confront dear ones with problems, love family members, sharpen each other with discussions, and generally live together in community. Each a different use and a different quantity, but all still salted--did you know the best ice cream has salt in it? Coke does too.--It's not always easy to say the right thing at the right time when even inflection and attitude plays a role. Conversation is not always happy or enjoyable. Sometimes it hurts. There a many times when what should be said will put a relationship on the line or cut deep to an issue--true friends are there to call you on things and keep you in check. Be that for those around you.

Remember though, life is not just full of challenges and hardships (though maybe thoses are the times when it's hardest to think of what to say). Just as important are the little moments every day. The simple responses when someone does something nice for you, or when they don't. All the times you feel like yelling and claiming your right to something or other. Each and every wink, nod, blush, and encouragement thrown around. Cliché as it is, we all know a picture is worth a thousand words. Now imagine your life in stop-motion frames of a movie, the smile in your eyes, the snarl when something didn't go your way, the thoughts that crossed your face when you thought you were alone. They are all reflecting your heart. Even if no one sees--maybe we really did happen to find a little time without peeping eyes--Proverbs says that what is in our hearts will come out. Watch it.

Paul also talks about being gracious. Now, that's not a word used much in our culture. It means to be pleasant and kind, merciful and compassionate, stylish and well-mannered. Someone who posses grace or good qualities; disposed to forgive offenses and impart unmerited blessings; virtuous. Now, that's quite a bit to think through every time you want to least in my mind. I'll be thinking twice before I retort some reply or gush about something that's best left alone.

Reading the Bible and spending time at the feet of older, wiser christians is a great way to learn what it means to have your speech seasoned with salt. Having lived longer, they have seen what words can do and the importance of setting a guard over the mouth. (don't we all wish we could take back a conversation, an email, or a few simple words?!) I encourage you all to take a minute and think about what you say. Not only the actual words, but also the tone of voice, the inflection, and the expression of your face. What are your emotions conveying through your speech?

Are you salted in the right ways?

Monday, June 6, 2011

apple strudel

After reading Father Capon's Supper of the Lamb for the second time this spring, I decided it was about time that I start trying out some of his recipes. Saturday I worked on the Puff Paste dough. And o, my. It was delish and totally made up for all the time I spent working in the butter, refrigerating between turns, and marveling at the incredible complexity of simple things in life (really. mix water, flour, butter, and a little patience and a fluffy, flakey pastry comes out of the oven. yes!).

I think the filling might have been the best part though. I mixed cinnamon sugar apple pieces with raisins and pecans which were soaked in vanilla rum. mmmmm