Sunday, April 20, 2008

How to Have a Perfect Week-end

*Order sunshine and blue skies

*Get your cleaning done early

*Bring out the polka-dot dishes and dine al fresco

*Go on a long walk. Enjoy the signs of spring.

*Play the piano; Michael W. Smith's Freedom is a nice place to start.

*Better yet, play the piano with a partner. My daughter Melody and I collaborated on a number of energetic pieces for 4 hands: My Bold Argentina, Power Play, Big River Barn Dance. Great fun!!

*Read your book outside in the sunshine. My current read is I Am a Pencil: A teacher, his kids, and their world of stories. What is yours?

*Save a good DVD for after dark. My husband and I became engrossed in Against All Odds~~ the story of Israel's independence and the 6 day war.

*Participate in a Jewish Seder. It was a delight to be a part of a Christianized version of a seder, complete with roast leg of lamb, curried rice with artichokes, tzimmes, home-grown horseradish, matzoh, and charoset. The celebration was enhanced by our Davidic Dance students, a group of young people who have learned the dances at our homeschool cooperative. Their joyful, expressive praise left smiles all around.

*Close the week-end with a Puritan prayer from Valley of Vision. Here is one of my favorite excerpts:
"O Lord, I am astonished at the difference between my receivings and my deservings...."

*Anticipate new mercies on Monday!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Wonder.....

Today, my children posed a couple of "I wonder" questions. Do you know the answers?

I wonder....

  • How squirrels get drinks of water ?
  • Why do people bake cookies when they could just eat the dough?

Perhaps you can guess it was raining at our house today, and we stayed inside and made chocolate chip cookies! I long will those cookies remain in the cookie jar?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Old World Baked Goods

At the risk of sounding like a commercial, I can't resist singing the praises of one of our local gems. Rotella's baked goods have been a staple in Omaha area restaurants and grocery stores for about a century, but it has only been recently that I discovered the home bakery where the bread is actually produced. A mere 75 cents will buy you a one-pound loaf; or 95 cents for a two-pound loaf. Hearty and substantial, I have been forever spoiled and now sniff snobbishly at the wimpy loaves that typically pass for bread on the grocery shelf.

It is worth a separate, once -a -week trip to Rotella's to make selections for the family's menus and to enjoy the smell of warm bread whilst I am making decisions. The element of surprise is half the fun. Will they have marble bread today? I hope so, because Dana has made me hungry for a Reuben sandwich. Oooh, there are cored sourdough bowls for soup this time! Rosemary focaccia ciabatta will go into the freezer awaiting that Italian meal I've been wanting to make.....and just look at all the ways I can dress up a hamburger!

Like merchant ships, the excellent wife described in Proverbs 31 "brings her food from afar".
For the ones we love most, it is worth a little extra effort to make the table we set special. The smell of fresh bread baking is just a little perk for doing that, no calories added!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Gulf Breeze

Seashell on Beach
Photographic Print

We've recently returned from a road trip and vacation to Gulf Breeze, Florida. This was my first trip south and what a delight it was! Somewhere in southern Missouri we drove through an invisible doorway into spring, leaving the barren trees and cold dampness of winter behind. We drank in the sight of daffodils, pansies, azaleas, and as we continued south I had my first glimpse of Spanish moss and wisteria. Normally, one experiences the delights of springtime unfolding slowly and almost imperceptibly. To suddenly be thrust into the glory of the season is a whole different experience--exhilarating to the senses!

Gulf Breeze, on the Florida panhandle, is situated on Fairpoint peninsula and boasts eighteen miles of waterfront. The pristine, sugary white sand beaches beckoned us to leave schedules and cares behind and to devote ourselves to the leisurely art of beach bumming. We all got sunburns in spite of our spf 50 sunblock, but it was so worth it!

Hunting seashells is a delightful occupation. It is amazing how many of the designs reminded me of flowers. My daughter made the mistake of stowing one in her purse---ugh, the smell was NOT at all flower-like! Some of those shells still shelter little inhabitants.

For people of the plains, the waves were almost mesmerizing. I believe it was Willa Cather who compared the blowing grass of the prairie to the waves of the sea, and now I have validated that observation with my own eyes.

Today, it is typical that we learn about nature from books. It is infinitely more desirable to experience it tangibly, to smell the smells, to feel the grit between the toes, to hear the loud voice of the gull for oneself.

I read an editorial in yesterday's newspaper by Froma Harrop on this very subject. She mentioned the fact that attendance at America's national parks has been dwindling since 1987 and attributes it to "videophilia". You can probably guess the definition of that word: the love of electronic media. She goes on to quote author Richard Louv, who has coined a term for our modern nature estrangement--"nature deficit disorder."

Here is a quote from this same author:

"Today, kids can tell you anything about the Amazon rain forest but not the last time they saw the leaves move."

Adults need to watch the leaves move, too. I'm on a crusade against "nature deficit disorder." While a vacation affords a special opportunity to indulge in the wonders of God's creation, taking time to be outside regularly can be considered a vacation taken in increments. And those little moments give me renewed strength to go out with joy and be led forth in peace.