Friday, June 27, 2008

Recipe Alert: Summer Food

Cookbooks and Commentaries has had a lot of "commentary" over the past year and very little "cookbook." So, to even things out a bit, here are some of my favorite light, fresh summer recipes:

Chicken Kebabs
Makes 8-9 skewers, about 4 servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into large chunks
1 container whole mushrooms
1 green bell pepper, cut into large chunks
½ red onion, cut into large chunks
1 small can pineapple chunks, drained
1 cup Italian dressing
8-9 wooden skewers

Cut chicken, peppers, and onions. Marinate all ingredients except the pineapple in dressing in a resealable plastic bag 8 hours or overnight. Turn a few times to coat evenly. Soak skewers in water for 15 minutes. Thread food onto skewers, alternating between meat, pineapple and vegetables. Place directly on hot grill (or bake in 375 F oven) for 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Serve over white rice or rice pilaf. Also good with flat bread or flour tortillas, with a dollop of Ranch dressing.

Fresh Mexican Salad

4 tomatoes, diced
1 ½ cups frozen corn, thawed
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 green chili, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 limes, juiced
¼ cup olive oil
Salt to taste
1 avocado, diced
1 mango, diced

Combine first five ingredients. In a small bowl, mix lime juice, oil, and salt. Pour over salad. Serve with avocado and mango on the side (they are too mushy to stir into the salad).

Green Beans and Carrots with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Fresh green beans, washed and cut into ½ inch lengths
Carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ inch cubes
¼ cup olive oil
2-3 T. raspberry vinegar
dash of each salt and pepper

Combine prepared beans and carrots. Toss with combined oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Adjust the amounts for the dressing ingredients to suit the amount of vegetables you prepare.

Turkish Salatasi

4 tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 cucumbers, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
½ small red onion, chopped
2/3 cup fresh parsley, snipped

1/3 cup olive oil
3 T. red wine vinegar
½ tsp salt

Toss salad ingredients with combined dressing. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Home Stretch II

My wife is very kind and encouraging. I am very excited, I have finished all of my reading (10 books). I have only two papers left for my last of three summer classes. Finally, we found out yesterday that I do not have to take one of the classes I was registered for this that means only three more classes and I graduate!

As an aside, my wife has been very busy. In addition to the full-time job of raising three boys, she finished my resume on Monday evening and painted the bathroom walls and cabinets last night. Now that is real work.

I am proud to be married to you babe!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Home Stretch

We've lived in Louisville for one year and seventeen days. In that time, Ken has taken 13 seminary classes!

I am so proud of my husband! He has persevered through long weeks and even longer reading lists. He has made good grades, all the while working nights as a waiter. He has served in some ways at church, and has continually made our family a priority in his schedule.

Only four more classes to can do it, Babe!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

For My Lost Friends

We go to the Louisville Zoo a lot (have you gathered?), and so the rhinoceros, the meerkats, and the giraffes are beginning to seem commonplace. My eye is looking for something more. I've realized recently that if you strip away the Bomassa and Australian Outback themes, the well-manicured gardens, the cotton candy and screaming kids, and, oh yes, the animals, you see something very interesting: the Dharma Initiative.

That's right. The ole "DI" right there in the Louisville Zoological Gardens.

So I present to you the relatively unknown exhibits at the zoo:

The "Orchid" Station ~
The "Hydra" Station ~

The "Tempest" Station ~

The "Temple" Station ~

The "Looking Glass" Station ~

The "Arrow" Station ~

The "Staff" Station ~

The "Swan" Station ~
The "Flame" Station ~

And the "Pearl" Station ~

Is it just me, or are you seeing it too?

Monday, June 16, 2008

S'More Family Fun

The boys had their first s'mores last night. Calvin was concerned about the mess:

Calvin: Mama, my hands are getting sticky.
Me: Yes, honey, that's the way s'mores are.

Calvin: There's chocolate dripping on me!
Me: MmmHmm, isn't it fun?

It took him a while, but he ended up embracing the sticky-ooey-gooey fun ~

Teddy, on the other hand, prefers his marshmallows pure and undefiled, that is, straight out of the bag. And he knows how to save a bit for later ~
And how did we roast these marshmallows? Ken's preferred method of cooking: the grill ~

He burned his last two marshmallows. He said he was distracted by the pretty girl standing next to him taking pictures. He's so sweet.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Floral Interlude

Ken may be posting more about the SBC soon, but in the meantime, how about a floral interlude?

I've enjoyed starting some annual planters this summer~ One of the delights of living in a house!

The Cucumber Monster in our family (aka Ken) is likely to eat all the fruit of this plant. Hopefully I'll get at least one taste ~

Hmmm...Do you think I like hot pink petunias?

And check out these gorgeous lilies that just opened up yesterday ~

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Power of the Cross

Here are the lyrics for this powerful hymn from Stuart and Krysten Getty:

Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

This, the pow'r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath—
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev'ry bitter thought,
Ev'ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
"Finished!" the vict'ry cry.

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

This, the pow'r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.

The SBC in Indianapolis

I had the privilege of attending the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting this week. I want to share some of my thoughts about the meeting over a series of blogs. Today I want to comment on the highlights of the convention for me personally.

First, I was able to meet with Dr. Paige Patterson for a 30-minute interview. For those of you who are not familiar with SBC life, Dr. Patterson is one of the most well-known persons in all of SBC life. He currently serves as the President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas. He is a kind and gracious man. When we sat down he asked me about me and my family. He answered every question I had and then shared some invaluable advice to me as a young pastor. I walked away from this interview praising God that he has raised up men like Dr. Patterson to defend the faith earnestly.

Second, Stuart and Krysten Getty, modern day hymn writers led us in worship for one session. These two are amazing, they have written two of my favorite hymns: In Christ Alone and The Power of the Cross. If you have not heard their hymns, check out their music at this site.

Third, the Southern Seminary Alumni and Friends Luncheon was first-class. I love Southern Seminary and it was so much fun seeing old friends and hearing how God is using them. My pastoral heart was overjoyed to hear of many serving in local churches across the country. I also met some great alumni. Dr. John Newland, newly elected 2nd Vice President of the SBC, sat at my table and we had a nice visit. He pastors a church in Indianapolis and he shared with me the need for churches in Indiana (nearly 80% of all Indianians are unchurched).

That is enough, more later...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Three Little Men

I got to spend this beautiful summer day with three handsome little men:

Caleb, our friends' son,

The Deaner-Beaner,

And Mr. Incredible.


Friday, June 6, 2008

The Truth Comes Out

Well, now that I have a year under my belt in the south, I can make my confession: I love country music! I will listen to other types, but country is definitely my favorite. I was discussing this with a co-worker and we each came up with our top five country singers.

1. Toby Keith

2. George Strait

3. Martina McBride

4. Alan Jackson

5. Hank Williams Jr.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Less Travelled Paths

I have been reading this book for the past ten months. I am not an exceptionally fast reader...but I'm not that slow! No, I read it slowly because it was so convicting. I could only handle a couple pages at a time. It wasn't "pleasure reading." No, it was more like surgery without anesthesia.

(Not that I've actually experienced surgery without anesthesia, but my friend Meredith has--an appendectomy, no less--and she told me all about it. Seriously.)

The truth in the book continually cut into the cancer of sin in my heart. All that said, When Sinners Say "I Do": Discovering the Power of the Gospel in Marriage, by Dave Harvey, is excellent.

A few things that hit me hard from this book:

1. When my marriage is in conflict, the first place to look is myself, my own sin. Dave Harvey says it so well:

...Jesus tells us, our own sin must loom large in our sight. It must be, by far,
the primary and more significant issue...If you suspect yourself
(humility), you are more likely to inspect yourself first (integrity).
This road feels narrow to us, because we are constantly looking for an off-ramp
to focus on the sins of someone else. But if we stay on it, we can be confident
that it will take us where Jesus wants us to go. [p.66-67]

2. Once I have "removed the log" from my own eye, I am called to lovingly remove the "speck" from my husband's eye. I am God's instrument to confront sin in my husband's life.

3. A lot of marriage teaching today focuses on needs, teaching that marital conflict is because of unmet needs or unspoken love languages. Harvey challenges this notion in Chapter 4:

Guess what? Your last heated exchange was not caused by an unsatisfied need; it
was not "her lack of respect" or "his lack of affection." It was caused by
renegade desires--"passions at war within us." ...we must see that Scripture
places the blame for conflict squarely on our passions--on how much I
want something, regardless of how "legitimate" that desire is. If my
desire is so strong that I am tempted to sin, then the problem is entirely me.
It's my desire, my sin, the grimy oil in my own heart erupting in response to
the heat of circumstances. With a sentence or two, James [4:1-2] masterfully
shifts our entire paradigm from something we're missing (an unmet need)
to something we're doing (passionately desiring something we're not
getting). [p. 72-73]

3. He makes this profound statement about confrontation:

If we avoid confrontation, we'll just get confrontation anyway, because sin
unaddressed is sin unconfined. [p.127]

(Now that's something to chew on.)

4. I'm so glad I persevered to the end of this book, because I thought the last chapter was the best. "When Sinners Say Goodbye" explains how, in marriage, we are preparing one another for heaven. Harvey discusses how we might grieve the loss of a spouse in a way that glorifies God by acknowledging eternity. He also beautifully illustrates how the life of a widow or widower should be lived for the glory of God.

Near the end of the book, Harvey refers to his discussions on marriage as "less travelled paths." Indeed, if you read this, you are in for an eye-opening walk through less travelled paths of biblical teaching on marriage.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Things They Say

Calvin's best lines of the day...

When a customer asked his name while we were grocery shopping this morning:
"My name is Calvin but I usually call myself Mr. Incredible."

After I had asked him to put celery and cucumbers into the shopping cart:
"Mr. Incredible is doing all the work."

(I should add, the manager at Aldi has told me they ought to pay us to come in every day, for all the entertainment they get out of the time he marched up and down the aisles singing, "Life Is a Highway.")

While he was sitting at the counter for lunch, wearing nothing but shorts:
"This is what Pharoah looks like. An Egyptian without a sert (shirt) on."

Holding up the picture he just colored, some beautiful scribbles of blue, green, and yellow:
"This reminds me of the osen (ocean) at Madeline Island." (I didn't tell him that Madeline Island is in Lake Superior, not the ocean. I suppose it is an ocean to a little boy.)

Peeking around the corner when he was supposed to be napping:
"What is that delisis (delicious) smell?" (Strawberry cake, Calvin, but go back to bed!)

Good times.