Friday, August 28, 2009

Sausage-Sweet Potato Bake

With fall poking it's head around the corner in our part of the world I thought it would be nice to share one of our favorite dinners. It reminds me of fall.

Brown sausage in skillet:
1 lb. Sausge (we use brats and kielbasa as well)
Break up large pieces and drain off excess fat.

Arrange in 2 qt. casserole dish:
2 medium raw sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced (you can use cooked or canned sweet potatoes instead)
3 medium apples, peeled and sliced
Combine and pour over:
2 T. Sugar
1 T. Flour
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. water

Cover and bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes, or until potatoes and apples are tender.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Women of Faith


I will serve the Lord in power and speak His Word without fear.


I will intercede for God's people before His throne.


I will humble myself to wash the feet of the servants of the Lord.


I will respect my husband and his ministry to the Lord.


I will dedicate my children to the Lord.


I will explain the way of God more perfectly to those who are seeking.

Like the
Shunamite widow

I will trust God in the day of adversity.


I will be a worshiper of God and open my home to his ministers.


I will always do good and help the poor.


I will use my wealth to support the ministry of Jesus.

Mary, the mother of Jesus,

I will hear the word of God to me and answer, "Be it unto me as you have said."

Mary, the sister of Martha,

I will know the voice of Jesus and hear His words.

Mary, the mother of Mark,

I will make my home a haven for the followers of Jesus.

Mary, the Magdalene

I will keep at the feet of Jesus and love Him unto death.

~ Anonymous


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to read a poem, part 2

You can read the first part [HERE].

In the last post I talked about how to read a poem, using "God's Grandeur" by Gerard Manley Hopkins as an example. In this post I'm going to share some of what I see in "God's Grandeur."

This poem is a sonnet--to be more specific, a Petrarchan sonnet. Therefore it has 14 lines in the following rhyme pattern (or rhyme scheme):


I divided into two sections. The first contains two thoughts, the second one.

Let's look at the first thought of the first section (this is starting to sound a little like Charades, isn't it?):

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

* Until the last line, all of the statements are positive ("is charged," "will flame out," "gathers to a greatness")
* The positive statements are all attributes of the grandeur of God.
* The first negative statement is introduced with men.
* The "now" in the last sentence places the poem in the present
* Three major subjects of the poem are introduced: the world, God, and men

Let's move on to the second thought of the first section:
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

* This thought marks a change from most of the first thought but continues from the last sentence
* Hopkins is still describing the present day
* The statements are positive but the connotations are negative ("bleared," "smeared," "smudge")
* Here man is out of touch with nature ("nor can foot feel, being shod") and in fact has imposed himself on the world.

Now comes a very important part: a break. You can see it on the page. There's a space before the next thought. This pattern follows the form of Petrarchan sonnets.

Then comes the second section:
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

* Here the attitude of the poem shifts dramatically. Before everything was "bleared" and "smeared"--and they still are. But there is also "the dearest freshness deep down things"
* The renewal of the world is constant and ever present. This renewal is only possible with God, via the work of the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost), which is here compared to a mother hen brooding over her chicks.

This analysis is far from exhaustive, but I'm not really trying to be exhaustive. I'm trying to show you that if you don't let yourself be discouraged and keep reading attentively, you can figure out what a poem is trying to say without as much difficulty as you might think!

Do you have any other thoughts? Leave them in the comments!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Being Like Jesus

"That is why He warned people to “count the cost”
before becoming Christians.
“Make no mistake,” He says, “if you let me, I will make you perfect.
The moment you put yourself in my hands, that is what you are in for.
Nothing less, or other than that." –C.S. Lewis

To be like Jesus
To be like Jesus
All I ask is to be like Him
All through life's journey
From earth to glory
All I ask is to be like Him.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are
not worthy to be compared with the glory
which shall be revealed in us.
-Romans 8:18


Friday, August 21, 2009

The Art of Classical Music

Classical music is a lost art. A form of entertainment that our generation has labeled old fashioned and in some cases boring. It's not upbeat and compelling enough for high action entertainment. Well, I must admit it took me awhile to appreciate it myself. You see except for the standard pieces that everyone knows and recognizes, classical music is not understood or appreciated. You know how people say that coffee is an acquired taste, well... classical music is like that. Not necessarily acquired but definitely something that once you understand and know what to look for you appreciate it more.

Let me tell you a story. When I was a little girl I didn't know what classical music was. My Dad has liking for it so I would hear it occasionally. Otherwise I was clueless. When I started playing the violin I understood that it was the music that violinists played. I figured I should like it, but other than the fun opening to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and the Hallelujah Chorus, I cared little for it. I played the violin for about 10 years before I really began to enjoy it. I had a violin teacher that was really helping me to see the fun in classical music when we moved to a different state. Not being exposed to that information made me lethargic. A couple years later I started taking lessons at the local college. It was then that the world of classical music began to unfold. Classical music, to me, is best looked at as a giant, wordless, storybook. If you are willing to listen and use your imagination you will be able to find, in music, a variety of stories.

One of my favorite pieces is Dvorak's New World Symphony. It's called New World Symphony because he wrote it when visiting a Czech Village in Norther Iowa. But the symphony isn't about Iowa. It's a piece heavily seeped and influenced by Czech Folk Music. If you listen to the piece you can follow the story of a peasant man who leaves home to fight for his country. It follows his tearful goodbye to his wife and children, his journey through the countryside passing a wedding, a funeral, and the distant thundering of cannons as he nears the army camp. It ends as a battle rages and the man thinks of his family and ultimately gives his life for his country. You didn't know that, did you? I didn't either. After it was explained to me that way it made sense, I understood the piece. When I listen to Dvorak's New World it's like there is a TV in my brain and I can see it all unfolding. A couple years ago we played a piece in orchestra and I swear there was a western part in it. It sounded just like Cowboys and Indians. A couple months ago I brought home a CD of Andre Rieu's Strass Gala. I put it in and the next thing I knew Luke and Sarah were galloping around the house. They thought the music sounded like horses.

Once you allow yourself to imagine and fill in the lack of words with a story of your own, classical music becomes a whole new world of entertainment. A world where you can site back, relax, shut your eyes and allow the music to tell the story. No reading required.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How to read a poem, part 1

I’ve noticed that a fair number of my friends, even people who enjoy reading a lot, tend to shy away from poetry. “Oh no,” they say, “it’s too difficult. I don’t like reading it very much.” I, on the other hand, enjoy reading poetry quite a bit. And since I’m an English major I read it often. So I thought I’d give a few tips on reading poetry. Because it’s really not as scary as it sounds.

1. Go [HERE] and print off the poem. Now find a pen or pencil and sit down somewhere quiet with a table or book to write on.

2. Read the whole poem out loud. I know this may sound a little funny, but trust me. It makes a difference.*

3. Now, in the nice white space at the bottom of your paper write down anything you noticed. Don’t read any further until you’ve done that.

Okay. Here are a few things I noticed:
a) the ‘g’ sound is repeated quite a bit throughout the poem
b) there’s a rhythmical, marching feel, especially in the first stanza [if you don’t know what a stanza is, don’t worry—we’ll get to that in a minute]

4. Now take your pen or pencil. We’re going to look at the form of the poem—the way it’s been set up. I happen to already know that this is in a form called a Petrarchan sonnet. But even if you don’t know that, we can figure some things out.

At the end of the first line, put a big ‘A.’ Now look at the next line. Does it rhyme with the first? No, it ends with ‘foil.’ So put a big ‘B’ at the end of the second line. Now look at the third line. Does it rhyme with either of the two so far? Yes! It rhymes with the second line. So put a big ‘B’ at the end of that line as well. Keep going through the poem, putting a new letter whenever a new rhyme appears.

After you’re done, you should end up with these letters:


Can you draw any conclusions from them?

Here’s what I thought of:
a) the poem is divided into two sections—these are called ‘stanzas’ †
b) in the first section, the same rhyme pattern‡ is repeated twice
So my conclusion is that the two sections will have different thoughts in them—otherwise why would they be divided? And in the first section, there will be two thoughts again, but they will be related (because they have the same rhyme pattern).

5. Now, read the first line again. Just the first line. Take your pen or pencil and write down any thoughts you have. Circle words if you think they’re interesting. Do the same thing for all fourteen lines. If you need to look something up in the dictionary, you can. If you want to read it out loud again, you can do that too. If you think two things are connected, draw a line between them. Right across the beginning of the page.

6. Look at all of your notes. Some of them might not be important. That’s okay. Usually I have two or three little rabbit trails that are interesting but don’t really have anything to do with what I end up thinking the poem is really trying to say.

Now comes the part that might be a little harder. Looking at your notes and at the poem, try to figure out what you think the poem is saying. It doesn’t have to be anything really profound. It can just be a paraphrase of the words in each section. That’s a hint there—remember that the poem is written in sections. There are two complete thoughts in the first large section and one complete thought in the second. Try to think of them as a sentence each (in this poem they happen to be a sentence each, which makes things easier).

Another tip: try to find the key words. What seems to be important here? I came up with a few—nature, God, man, the world. Can you think of any more?

Tip 3: a poem isn’t necessarily going to say exactly the same thing the whole way through. In fact, usually the poet changes his or her mind part of the way through. So if one section seems to say one thing and another section seems to say another, don’t be frustrated. That’s probably part of the poem.

I’m going to stop here for this week. Next week I’ll tell you what I think the poem is trying to say. Please, leave your ideas in the comment section! And if you have any questions, you can leave those in the comments as well. I’ll try to answer them either there or in my next post.

* Most poetry is designed to be read out loud and therefore you miss things if you don’t. This is less true for certain poems and forms of poetry but in general it is a good principle.
† There, wasn’t that easy?
‡ If you wanted to be fancy about it, you could use the technical term and call it a 'rhyme scheme.'


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The War Between The Sexes, Part 2

Way back last December I published an article called The War Between The Sexes 

The following question was left in the comment section of that article and I have not addressed it yet. Frankly because I had no idea how to answer. 

Here's the question:

What is a girl to do when she hears other girls putting guys down? Comments in their defense can be misconstrued, but to stand by silently can be equal to condoning the behavior. I've been there more than once. Do you have suggestions or examples to share of things that have worked for you?

It's really not so much of an issue for me, personally, anymore.  I'm 27 and I don't know many guys my age.  When I hear girls making disparaging remarks about boys I can usually safely speak up in the guys' defense just on the foundation of being A) older and B) obviously NOT defending a guy because I have feelings for him.  But, I clearly remember being in my teens and the awkwardness of being involved in these conversations. 

Essentially you have two choices in such a situation.  You can say nothing.  In which case you may know that you don't approve but most likely no one else will.  And if you aren't going to voice your disapproval, it will be assumed that you approve.  OR, you can say SOMETHING.  But, what to say?  How do you speak up in the defense of the defenseless without looking like you have hidden agendas?

Going against the grain is difficult in any situation.  And I'm definitely one of those people that avoids debate at all costs.  But, when we look at the big picture we have to realize how harmful this kind of talk can be.  Girls that put down guys by way of scornful remarks and ridicule them behind their backs are harming themselves more than the guys in the long run.  Let's face it.  We NEED guys.  This world could not continue without guys.  Every girl wants to get married someday, right?  Does she plan to continue these kind of remarks with regards to her husband?  I hope not. 

In matters of speaking up for truth, and taking the side of righteousness I hope you will never hesitate.  Sometimes taking the less popular side can be equal to stepping into the line of fire.  It can open you up to even more ridicule. 

Believe me.  I've been there.  But, someone must stand on the side of righteousness.  Be the one that's a cut above the normal.  I'd like to encourage you to take the road less travelled.  Ask the question "What Would Jesus Do?"  It's worth it in the end. 

There are sometimes ways of addressing these issues without going full tilt into rebuking the offenders.  It really depends on the situation and the people involved of course, but I would encourage you to try to develop some diplomatic and kind ways of addressing disparaging attitudes and remarks without causing offense.  You do NOT want to start a war or make anyone feel bad because they made a remark in a bad moment.

These tips should go for any situation, not just standing up for the guys.  Sometimes guys say things about girls that should be refuted.  Sometimes children say things about parents, or vice versa.  Strive to be a peacemaker in any situation.

Some tips:


Adopt a "Holier-Than-Thou" attitude.

Beat a dead horse.  If you've made your point and people choose not to listen that's their problem (to put it bluntly).


Speak up if you feel a situation is getting out of control. 

Try to be a peacemaker

Does anyone have any experiences they would like to share? 

Or, questions? 

Leave them in the comments!


Friday, August 14, 2009

IDDiot Unite #3

What happens when a bunch of good friends, who have (for the most part) never met in person get together for 4 days of fun and fellowship???

Introducing 13 offical IDDiots! In one place, at one time!
Now, as the blog contributors/forum moderators we felt it was our duty to make sure everyone behaved and stayed in line.  So the mods, minus the two who couldn't make it :(, pulled out the big guns.
But the second we turned out backs.....
Ok, ok, we were right there taking pictures.... It wouldn't be an IDD reunion without a little bit of fun and craziness.  We spent four lovely days in each others company.  We visited a fort, did hair, had a tea party, sang songs, did a little swing dancing, watched movies, swapped stories, fellowshipped in the Lord, and enjoyed ourselves.  And when we parted company we all wanted to cry.  We are already planning the next reunion :)

If you would like to join us please click the IDD Forum Button on the right side of the screen.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Being Still

Earlier I wrote a post about actively waiting on the Lord. Running the race while you wait.

There's a flip side to that, which is, I believe, much harder.

Waiting.......and being still while you wait.

I'm a bit of a doer. Like Martha of the Bible, I'm one of those people who looks at what needs to be done and tries to do it. In large parties I'm usually in the kitchen or helping behind the scenes.

I like knowing I can contribute. I like thinking that somehow, someway, I can help it happen.

Which is probably why it's hard for me to sit still most of the time.

Martha takes alot of flak from people who talk about her lack of proper focus, and of course the Lord did say her focus was wrong and that she should have been like Mary and listened to Him, but I empathize with Martha.

Sitting still means I'm not contributing. Sitting still means someone else is in control. Sitting still means........trusting.

Sitting still means embracing the pain when you've done everything you can in the midst of grief and difficulty--and it's completely in God's hands now. Sitting still means trusting while you hurt.

When you watch a loved one suffering, and you have no control over it. When you cry out to God time and time again, yet He chooses, for His own perfect reasons, not to release them from this trial.

When you are confused about the next step to take, and you're waiting on God for direction. When there IS no other step ahead of you right now. And you feel smothered.

When you are helpless--and even hopeless.

It's much easier, I think, in waiting on the Lord, to do something as you wait. The hardest times are when you can't do anything.

When you wait--but you must be still and wait.

But truthfully--I believe one of the reasons God says Be still and KNOW I am God, is that when I am still, it is clearly He who is moving. The times when I learn to see God for who He is, are usually the times when I am doing nothing and He is doing everything. I may not see Him working, but after the storm has passed, I can look back and see how He WAS working, and it was ALL Him.

How He wanted my personal growth in Him,far more than my comfort.

Trusting God does not mean we will not suffer. Being still doesn't mean God removes the ache.

But it does mean we'll learn to know Him in a new way after the storm has passed. If we will willingly let Him teach us, and not run from the hurt and pain He is allowing.

Hide me now
Under Your wings
Cover me
Within Your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm
Father you are King over the flood
I will be still and know You are God

Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know His power
In quietness and trust

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm
Father You are king over the flood
I will be still and know You are God

~Hillsong United

Having just flown for the first time, there are few things I've seen more amazing than soaring above the clouds--Feeling the presence of my Lord beside me in my stillness definitely is more amazing.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Poking my head in the door

Hello everyone! It's been awhile since I've been posting regularly. In fact, right now you may be thinking, "What? An IDD Blog post on a Wednesday?" If so, I apologize.

My existence without wireless is to blame. And I've missed all of you and I'll be glad when I have wireless again and can be around more. But I'm glad I've had this quiet time as well. I've been doing so many things.

I went to New York State for a wedding and camped by the banks of Lake Erie on the way.

I went to Chicago for a church youth conference, where we made a star with our feet. And then over 30 of us got sick afterwards.

We hosted a bridal tea for a friend of mine. I made the scones.

And then I've been doing all sorts of things that can't be pictured. I've been working on embroidery projects, recommended book lists, reading Moby Dick and Little Dorrit and Rosemary Sutcliff, becoming co-caretaker of a library, cooking, dancing, singing. Writing. Compiling service books for myself. And petting this rascal:

And this one:

What have you been doing?


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What's in a Name?

Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this.  I like to name my belongings.  Ok, not EVERYTHING.  Just the expensive and meaningful ones that are closest to my heart.  My car, computer, etc.  Is this strange?
I have some theories.

Perhaps it's my mother-nature that has long been unfulfilled.  You know?  Like, I don't have any children to name and nurture so I'm releasing all the pent-up mother-feelings on the only things that truly are MINE.
I have an over-active imagination.  *looks around* ok, SHHH... I DO sometimes talk to my named posessions.  But, don't worry.  They don't talk back.  Yet.
I've read too many old books.  You know in old books everybody names everything.  Heroines name their pianos.  Heros name their gallent steeds.  (Granted everyone names their horses, but still... I don't have a horse to gallop bravely on, I have a car to ride bravely in.  Same difference, right?)

Actually, any of the above theories is quite plausible.

So, please tell me someone out there has named their computer.  Maybe your laptop would like to meet my laptop?  Laptop play date?  My laptop is 6 years old, but I only recently adopted her.  Her name is Tuppence.  Stop laughing.  I spent a long time picking out a name for her.  I think it's very fitting.  After all she helps me find things all the time.  We're a regular pair of detectives.  And besides, my sister wouldn't let me name her Nancy Drew.

My car is 6 1/2 years old and deep blue.  His name is Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey.  (Just Wimsey for short)  Because I had a crush on Lord Peter when I named him.  And because the Wimsey family motto is (quite fittingly) "As My Wimsey Takes Me."  Wimsey has taken me many places.  Although, mostly just to work and back.  Wimsey and I have been through LOTS together and I love him.  Wimsey takes much better care of me than I take of him.  Which reminds me, he needs an oil change...

When I was the "Machine Cleaner in Residence" at DQ I spent many a long and tedious morning taking apart, washing, rinsing sanitizing, drying, lubricating, re-assembling and washing the ice cream machines.  We spent so much time together that I became sort-of attached to them.  I was like their mother, you know?  If anything went wrong guess who was the first one on the spot and knew just how to fix them?  Moi.  So, naturally, I named them too.  We had two at the time.  The big double-header I named Tante.  She reminded me of the stereotypical big auntie with lots of sweets to dispense.  Or, in this case, soft serve ice cream.  She was also the most finicky and tempermental.  Not that Aunties are finicky and tempermental.  She just was.  The other single header machine I named Pip.  I don't actually remember why.  It might have been short for Pipsqueak.  Or, I might have recently finished reading Great Expectations.  Come to think of it, I'm sure that was it.

That's one of my weaknesses.  The minute I finish a book I love I want to name something after one of the characters.  I had a cat named Cosette (Les Miserables) once.  And of course a dog named Bella (Our Mutual Friend).  Wimsey was named during my Wimsey stage.  (Ok, not actually OUT of that stage yet.).  And of course, Tuppence... well, I'm always in an Agatha Christie stage.  After I read The Count of Monte Cristo I named my piano Valentine.  Which name only stuck for a month or so.

Anyway, when I left DQ I handed the job of "Chief Machine Mechanic" over to my brother.  Within 2 months he had RE-NAMED MY MACHINES!  Can you believe it!?!  of all the nerve!  And even worse...  prepare yourself.  He put absolutely no thought or imagination into naming them at all.  I'm pretty sure he just said the first two names that popped into his head.  Pete.  and Leroy.  Uh huh.  I joke not. 

I have other belongings that are close to my heart and yet to be named.  It's a serious matter.  A lot of thought has to be put into it.  It will be interesting to see how long it takes me to name my children. 

My coffeemaker for instance is red and adorable, so I'm thinking of calling her Florence.  Don't try to follow the logic.  There isn't any. 

And my phone!  What should I name my phone!  It's almost never more than one layer of denim away from me.  It's my lifeline, my texting machine, my clock, my connection to my family and my organizer.  I keep my "to-do" lists in it, my grocery list, my half started articles, my random thoughts that need to be captured before they're gone for ever into nothingness.  I couldn't live without my phone!  She needs a name!  Help!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What We Know

 And we know that all things 
work together for good to them that 
love God
to them who are the called according to his purpose. 
 -Romans 8:28

Right now may not be one of the "GOOD" times in your life.  But, I guarantee it's a time that's "working together" TOWARDS the good. 
I know that feeling of being lost, or swirling in current out of our control and wondering "how can THIS be God?"  

Imagine you're in a raft, floating on a river.  You can't see around the corner, you don't know what's ahead, but high above you is a helicopter.  The person in the helicopter can see the entire river.  They can see where you started,  they see where you'll end.  They see every rough spot along the way and they help you along by encouraging you through a walkie-talkie.  Are you going to turn your walkie talkie off?  

  For as the heavens are 
higher than the earth, so are my ways 
higher than your ways, 
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
-Isaiah 55:9


Blog Archive


The IDD Blog | Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial License | Dandy Dandilion Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates