Saturday, August 30, 2008

Life with young kids

Two of our granddaughters are staying with us for four days over labor day weekend. I'm not sure if a blog is a place to boast but I'll do it anyway. I'm so proud of the healthy snack I made yesterday. Sun Harvest was sold out of the carrot bars that Emeline eats and so we made our own, they are yummy. So, here is the recipe and a picture of Ethne with the Carrot Honey Oat Bars.

Carrot Oatmeal Bars

  • Dry Ingredients:
  • (1 cup) whole wheat pastry flour
  • (1/3 cup) all-purpose flour
  • (1/3 cup) flax
  • (1/3 cup) cracked wheat (Can use any combination to equal 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice

Fruit, Oat and Veggie Mixture:

  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrot*---(10 oz before peeling and trimming) use the finest holes on your box grater and pack them in
  • Grate 1 fresh apple and add your choice very finely chopped dried fruit—and nuts (optional) to equal 1 Cup
  • 1 cup rolled oats

Wet ingredients:

  • 1/3 Cup honey
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vanilla or plain yogurt


  1. Mix all dry ingredients together, set aside.
  2. Mix all fruit/veggie ingredients together, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter, and sugar, honey and yogurt until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, scrape bowl well, and continue to beat until mixture is thick, and very pale, another 3-4 minutes.
  5. Turn mixer to low speed, and add Dry ingredients, mixing until just blended.
  6. Remove mixer or beaters, and stir in fruit and oat mixture by hand until well incorporated.
  7. Chill one hour at least. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350.
  8. To form bars, lightly grease your hands with oil. (The kids can help out here! It's very sticky!)
  9. Shape gently into small loaves. You can also drop them by spoonfuls to make cookies, but they'll cook faster.
Bake 15-20 minutes, until just starting to brown. Remove to cool on rack, and store at room temperature. Makes about 26 bars.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fading Beauty

I said, "Look at the sunset. Grab the camera."
Craig got the camera, pointed--nothing. "No memory stick."
"I must have left it in the computer." I rushed to the other room, "Here. Quick."
"It's not as vivid."
"It only takes a second for the sky to change."
"It only take a second for the glory to fade."
"Yeah, but it's still beautiful."
"Sure is."

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Trouble with Stink (continued)

Discovering the source of the stink was easy, getting rid of it has been hard. The first thing was to get rid of the rotten mass of meat. Wrapped securely in plastic bags it landed in the trashcan (the big one that’s outside). When it left the house the most offensive order went with it. . . but there was still this lingering smell, a constant reminder that spoiled meat has dominated our living space. I did all I could. Armed with a spray bottle of stuff to neutralize odors, I’ve been spraying. Under sofa cushions, around toys, and over shelves filled with books. I threw out dried flowers from our daughter’s weddings, and washed the fabric draped above the windows. Still, at unexpected moments the lingering smell emerges.

The parallels to sin are plentiful. First, we have to get rid of sin. Throw it out, decide to bag it up and discard it. When we do there is great relief and the whole environment of our lives change but still now and then the odor of that sin lingers in our memory, or in a comment or in the pain in the eyes of those we wounded. On one hand, forgiveness is instantaneous. Done. Yet, healing takes time and even though the affects of our sinful choices may lessen with the passing of time, still its impact may invade our living space for quite awhile.

I think the Lord is trying to teach me something about all of this because the other day I woke up and the pool was green. I panicked because it was the day the pool man comes. That might seem like good news, but two week ago when I told him I only needed him to come once every other week, he said, “Okay. But please put chlorine in on the weeks I don’t come.”

“Oh, I will,” I promised.

I meant to. But Sam’s Club was out of chlorine and both my Leslies coupons were expired. The lady at the store said a new one was coming out soon and I should look for it in the mail. It didn’t come and the rains did and that’s when the crystal clear water in our pool turned green.

When I saw that accusing color I remembered my promised and went to Lowe’s and spent over a $100 to make things right. I also removed the pool cover and brushed the green off the sides and turned on the pump. Then I added chlorine. Not a lot, since I knew the pool man would put in more, just some. Then I worked in the yard, because all that rain also brought up the weeds. By the time I returned to the backyard the pool was clear. I couldn’t believe it! Just like that, the green was gone. I just needed to add the right ingredient. Like the blood of Jesus, it takes sin away instantly.

As if those two events didn’t drive home the point of sin needing to be dealt with, I had one more. When I cleaned out the freezers, the one in the kitchen and the extra one in the laundry room, I discovered two packages of meat wrapped in white paper. It was pork, of course, and it was old. Given to us by friends who hunt, who recently shared some of their kill from 2004 with us. I’ve about had it with spoiled meat so when I saw that it was 4 years old, even if it was still frozen, I thought, I don’t want to take a chance at cooking this. What if it’s rotten and that smell comes back? Trash day was a week away and I didn’t want that meat sitting outside in our trashcan in 100-degree heat. So, I put it into plastic bags and stored it in our laundry room fridge, until today when I put the trashcan out. When I lifted the bag destined for the trash from the fridge I saw that it had leaked a river of blood that pooled on the glass shelves and into the white plastic drawers. I sort of wished I could just throw out the whole refrigerator. I’m sick of cleaning up after pork. But it didn’t really take that long and wasn’t too much work and water and a bit of scrubbing cleaned it all up good as new.

Now, Jesus doesn’t throw us out when sin has left its mess all over us. In fact, He came to take sin away. Isn’t that the best? He saw it and said, “I’ll go and take it away.” And He did. I’m so glad.

Some sins are obvious; they drip all over us and cover us with shame. Some smell disgusting and over time, people don’t even like to be near us. Others change us and the color of our thoughts and actions become clouded and undesirable. All in all, it’s a nasty business. The key to getting clean is knowing where to go when you recognize sin for what it is. And that, restoring a life once tainted, a heart once darkened or a mind splattered with impure thoughts, is a wonder. God is our ultimate Cleaner Upper, we go to Him and confess and He simply (but not cheaply) takes our sins away.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sin's Stench

I woke up gagging and knew I’d made a mistake. More than a miscalculation or misjudgment, the choice I made was really stupid and the smell proved it.

Before going to bed the night before, I opened a package of spare ribs that I bought earlier in the day. I intended to cook them at a low heat overnight and serve them to the guys at Bible study. The meat didn’t smell right. In fact, it smelt awful. But instead of trusting my nose, I leaned on my reasoning ability. Okay, ‘ability’ isn’t really an actuate term to use to describe my powers of deduction. Such thought processes for me tend to be unreliable, based more on feeling, instinct or how long it’s been since I’ve eaten a good does of dark creamy chocolate than on logic. I weighed the options.

1. I hate to waste food, so I don’t want to throw this out. Plus it will take time and more gas to go back to store tomorrow morning to return these, and I need this meat for dinner tomorrow.

2. The meat looks nice and pink (the appearance is what fooled me).

3. I just want to go to bed and don’t want to deal with spoiled meat.

4. Maybe, it just needs to be rinsed off and cooked!

So, that’s what I did, put the meat into a roasting pan to cook overnight.

The putrid meat heated slowly all night long. And when Craig opened our bedroom door the next morning odor invaded our room. That’s when the gagging part happened.

It’s hard to describe the smell. Rotten, sour; worse than milk left in baby bottle for a week, in the car, in summer heat. Much worse. Deep. Penetrating. A stench that assails your senses, turns your stomach and convinces you that you may never want to eat again. An odor that makes repeat over and over, “I will not vomit. I will not!” Nothing like a delicate, lovely fragrance but a rotten reeking revolting smell so thick that it almost seemed evil. God intended this disgusting aroma as a way to prevent us from eating something that would make us sick. A warning. Yet, I am the one who brought it into our home, opened it up, ignored the warning and rationalized that it was really okay and instead of throwing it out I provided a way for that decayed meat and its smell to slowly permeate our home while we slept.

Sin is like rotten meat. We don’t have to partake, but if we’re deceived about it’s true nature, because it looks good or we don’t want to be bothered with dealing with it, and we decide to bring it into our life, it will invade the places where we live. I think this may be especially true of sexual sin, addictions, those that we try to hide, as if we could secretly indulge in them without any effect to the rest of our lives. In time, the affect of such unconfessed, hidden sin—sin that we like, that we hold on to, the kind that pulls us and draws us and wraps around us—is that in time it will take over our soul and those we love most will be tainted by it’s odor.

(To Be Contiued)

Friday, August 01, 2008

More of Maui

Here I am under a waterfall in Maui. I had to climb up here. It may look like I'm dead but really I'm wishing I could stay there for a long time, it was very wonderful!

It's beautiful here in El Paso. If we had an ocean I'd think we were in Maui. The sky there is a vivid blue, the clouds and mountains spectacular, just like here. It's cooler there, between 75 - 85, but the wind blows like it does here. I am going to try to post a video. This is the second waterfall I climbed into. It was a lot of fun. I have added the video (it's very grainy, sorry) so you can get an idea of how much fun it was. Blessings, Sue
Let me know if it works.