“I can still hear David laughing” Monday, May 24 2010 

In our Sunday school hour at church, we have just completed a study of I & II Samuel. Yesterday we looked at David’s last words, which contain one of my favorite verses: “When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth” (II Samuel 23:3-4).

Contemplating the end of David’s life, who for all his failures was Israel’s greatest taste of their coming King and was a man who both loved God and rightly responded to God, made me think of Andrew Peterson’s “Song and Dance.”

David’s on his throne at sundown
His paper and his pen are in his hand
He’s waiting on a song at sundown
As he gazes out across his holy land

And he thinks of old Goliath and he smiles
He can barely keep from laughing
He says, “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised”
He can hear the rivers clapping
Well, they’re still clapping
To the same old song and dance

Well the cadence of the sea is just as steady
And the chorus of the hills is just as strong
And the faithfulness of God is just as mighty as it was
When the shepherd slew the giant with a stone

You can close your eyes and listen to the sea
You can feel the holy rhythm
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
For the mercy he has given
Well, he’s still giving
It’s the same old song and dance

I can hear creation singing his praise
That his love is everlasting
It’s the same as it was a million years ago
I can still hear David laughing
And the rivers are still clapping
It’s the same old song and dance


The Ninth Daughter Saturday, Jan 9 2010 

Over the Christmas holiday, I read a new mystery that features Abigail Adams as the protagonist. Sometimes these types of mysteries (the ones that take historical figures and reshape them as “detectives”) can be less than satisfying, but I found The Ninth Daughter by Barbara Hamilton to be an enjoyable read on several levels.

The book was a good mystery, and I think that the author created a believable “mystery-solver” out of Abigail Adams. I think it helps that she is not the sole character investigating the mystery. She works closely with a British officer assigned to the case, and her work in seeking answers is believable for a woman of her times (and independent spirit).

I also felt that the author did a good job of blending historical events with the mystery plot. The story takes place as tensions are growing in Boston over the tea-tax and the Boston Tea Party is the culminating historical event of the novel, but overall the history functions as background to the mystery. I think the author successfully sets the reader inside the limited perspective of the characters, who, of course, have no idea how these momentous events will pan out.

Finally, I think that the author portrayed the daily life, work, and mindset of a colonial woman in a believable and fascinating way. While Abigail Adams pursues answers about a gruesome murder as well as about the disappearance of a dear friend, her work as a colonial wife and mother must go on. I found the description of laundry day in particular to be interesting and sobering — it made me thankful for washing machines, which truly do function as our modern-day servants! Abigail has a servant who works alongside her and also is able to care for her children while she seeks after a murderer (her habit of doing this is connected to the title of the novel), but Abigail certainly carries her fair share of the work in a colonial household, descriptions of which made me feel exhausted and fascinated at the same time! I also found Abigail to be a character of her times — her view of herself, her husband, and her faith are realistic to a woman living in the 18th century. By historical accounts, Adams was a forward-thinking woman, yet I never felt that the author was imposing modern values and thoughts on her.

If you enjoy mysteries and history, I would recommend The Ninth Daughter by Barbara Hamilton. I’ll be keeping an eye out for forthcoming mysteries in this new series.

Perseverance Monday, Oct 26 2009 

“The central reality for Christians is the personal, unalterable, persevering commitment God makes to us. Perseverance is not the result of our determination, it is the result of God’s faithfulness. We survive in the way of faith not because we have extraordinary stamina but because God is righteous, because God sticks with us. Christian discipleship is a process of paying more and more attention to God’s righteousness and less and less attention to our own; finding the meaning of our lives not by probing our moods and motives and morals but by believing in God’s will and purposes; making a map of the faithfulness of God, not charting the rise and fall of our enthusiasms. It is out of such a reality that we acquire perseverance.”

~ Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

My Favorite Soup Friday, Oct 23 2009 

This soup has become one of my favorites since I first tried it almost a year ago. I make it at least once a month, and I usually double it in order to be sure to have plenty of leftovers. (The recipe here is doubled; the link has the original proportions.) I highly recommend it!

Sausage & Spinach Soup

Sausage & Spinach Soup

Sausage & Spinach Soup

1 1/4 lbs. mild Italian sausage (or turkey sausage)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion, about 1
3-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup water
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans chicken broth (about 28 oz, or use a 32-oz carton)
4 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoons chopped basil (or 1-2 tsp. dried)
1 tablespoon chopped oregano (or 1 tsp. dried)
Romano cheese, grated

Remove casings from sausage. Cook sausage in a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in water, beans, tomatoes, and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thick (you can let it simmer for longer than this if you would like). Remove from heat, and stir in spinach, basil, and oregano. Ladle soup into bowls, and sprinkle each serving with Romano cheese.

Morning Prayer Thursday, Oct 15 2009 

Every morning at school, the elementary students gather before heading off to class. We pray this prayer from St. Ignatius:

Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve You as You deserve — to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, save that of knowing I am doing Your will. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

I love beginning the school day with that prayer. I often think that I need it more than the students.

Sunday Hymn Sunday, Sep 27 2009 

One of my favorite Sovereign Grace songs is “O Great God,” which we sing often at church. This morning’s sermon from I Corinthians 2 was a reminder that it is only the Spirit who gives life and wisdom. And each time we sing this song, the truth of the second verse in particular always stuns me into humility and thankfulness — that it is the Spirit alone who awakens my heart.

O great God of highest heaven,

Occupy my lowly heart;

Own it all and reign supreme,

Conquer every rebel power.

Let no vice or sin remain

That resists Your holy war;

You have loved and purchased me –

Make me Yours forevermore.

I was blinded by my sin,

Had no ears to hear Your voice,

Did not know Your love within,

Had no taste for Heaven’s joys.

Then Your Spirit gave me life,

Opened up Your Word to me;

Through the gospel of Your Son,

Gave me endless hope and peace.

Help me now to live a life

That’s dependent on Your grace,

Keep my heart and guard my soul

From the evils that I face.

You are worthy to be praised

With my every thought and deed –

O great God of highest heaven,

Glorify Your name through me.

Favorite Quote Monday, Sep 14 2009 

“If you sweep a house, and tend its fires and fill its stove, and there is love in you all the years you are doing this, then you and that house are married, that house is yours.”

~ Truman Capote


My sister has this quote framed above her kitchen sink. I have always loved it, and today while washing dishes I thought of it again and wanted to share it! 🙂

Outrageous Oatmeal Cookies Wednesday, Aug 12 2009 

Starbucks has recently released a couple of their recipes (as part of their move toward being transparent about the ingredients in their food). One recipe is for Outrageous Oatmeal Cookies. I came across the recipe in the Washington Post and have made them twice. I made one change and used white whole wheat flour rather than all-purpose white.

While I’m not sure why they’re “outrageous” (is the addition of cranberries really “outrageous”?), they are very, very good. Probably the best homemade oatmeal raisin cookies I’ve had. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (do not use quick-cooking or instant)

  • 1/2 cup flour

  • 1/2 cup dark raisins

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup (granulated) sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the oats, flour, 1/4 cup of the dark raisins and 1/4 cup of the golden raisins, the dried cranberries, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup dark raisins and 1/4 cup golden raisins (for topping) in a separate bowl.

Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held mixer; beat on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the egg, cinnamon and vanilla extract; beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Reduce the speed to low; gradually add the oats mixture, mixing until just combined.

Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls on the baking sheets, spaced 2 inches apart. Place one mounded teaspoon of raisins on top of each portion of dough (flatten the dough slightly to keep the raisins from rolling off). Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, until the cookies are light golden brown yet still soft. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.


Recent Reading Friday, Jul 31 2009 

On our beach vacation this month, I took along two books, one that I’d been working my way through for two months, and another that I knew would be a lighter read.

Crime & PunishmentI’ve been reading Crime & Punishment for my book club (the selection for June and July), and though I have an English degree and love to read, I must admit that I found this book to be one that I had to push myself to read. It’s the story of man who commits a murder (motivated by a theory he has of great men being excused from the morals that govern the rest of mankind), and who is then tormented by his own mind and yet also redeemed through his suffering as he experiences the consequences of his actions. I felt that it was one of those situations where I needed a great professor to open the brilliance of the novel to me. I’ve had that happen before (the book that stands out is Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises), and I wished as I was reading that I could have had that happen with this one. While I thought that Dostoevsky had insights into human nature, I felt that I remained detached while reading this book. I fully admit that this is my deficiency rather than the book’s. So I’m glad I read it (I haven’t read much of the Russians), but I don’t know that this one will take a treasured spot on my bookcase.

The Importance of Being KennedyThe other book I read was The Importance of Being Kennedy by Laurie Graham. I had come across this one in a bookstore, and since I had read a short biography of the Kennedys this past year as part of the 8th grade curriculum, I was more intrigued by this novel than I might otherwise have been. The novel is narrated by a fictional nanny who works for the Kennedys for many years, entering their lives soon after the birth of the oldest son and remaining connected with them through the second World War and the deaths of two of the grown children. While I found the end to be a bit unsatisfying (it felt like it just puttered to a stop), I really enjoyed this book overall and found it to be perfect beach reading. I felt that the author did a great job with the narrator’s character — she feels like a rounded character, yet mostly remains of secondary interest in the novel as she tells the story of this driven family.

July 2009 Wednesday, Jul 29 2009 

July has been a relaxed month overall. I am enjoying summer vacation from teaching (school begins for me at the end of August). We’ve been able to visit family as well this month. We spent the Fourth of July weekend in Columbus with Jeff’s family and spent last week in Virginia Beach with my family.

At the end of last week’s trip, we made a quick stop in Northern VA/DC to catch our breath before the long drive back to Louisville. We were able to attend Capitol Hill Baptist Church (where we met) on Sunday morning and also fit in a Sunday-afternoon visit to one of our favorite DC spots, the National Cathedral, where Jeff asked me to marry him nearly 3 years ago. I’m happy he asked, and happy I could say “yes!”

September 2006

September 2006

July 2009

July 2009

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