28 September 2012

Weekend linkage

"Aww, do you feel as bad as you look?"
-Jared

(I did. My response was something like "urrrghmmph.")

---

Pregnancy happenings: Not much, except that we bought a crib (thanks Krista!) and I pinned a lot of stuff to my nursery board. And although I'm beyond "doesn't look pregnant," I'm now in the awkward "looks kind of fat" stage. Ha ha. I'm excited for this bump to be more obviously baby. :)

---

How to identify a hipster wedding. Now, all these things are wonderful-- who doesn't like fishtail braids and letterpress?-- but really. I think we can all acknowledge that they are No Longer Original.

This wallpaper, on the other hand, is very original. And very cool.

Speaking of coolness and hipsters and suchlike, Dinosaur Comics has its own spin on the gluten-free craze. I don't eat gluten myself, and I still laughed my head off.

Best word ever?

Best pesto ever? It's good, but it needed more olive oil (double) and a squeeze of lemon juice to make it sing.

This NYT article on cheating in high schools is quite sad. Two thoughts after reading it: one, though the impulse to cheat won't disappear by changing the environment, I agree that we put too much weight on test scores these days. (Jared and I were just talking about this. Though we both excelled grade-wise in school, we don't consider ourselves to be all that smart, just good at learning things and even better at regurgitating them; also, we don't procrastinate. We had classmates who earned lower numerical grades but who have far better ideas and are much more interesting conversationalists than either of us. So test scores = meh.) Two, these high-achieving kids are obsessed with getting into a "good college," which to them is Ivy League, and they'll do anything to get there. That is all kinds of wrong. At the risk of losing all my Hillsdale cred, I'm going to posit that you don't need a college degree to be a fully actualized, successful, and thoughtful human being. Let alone a degree from Harvard.

27 September 2012

Mulberry bag on sale for Cheap

Honestly, thank God for spam filters. I get junky comments on my blog all the time, which would be annoying if they actually came through. But now that they get just stuck in the filter, sometimes I look through them and laugh.

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And some make no sense at all:

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25 September 2012

tending to love

During the past three or four years, thanks to our somewhat odd experience in the romance department, I have rethought a lot of my assumptions concerning marital love.

(I've talked about this a little bit before, but if you don't recall, our courtship was weird. Jared: Will you go out with me? Rebekah: Well, I've never thought about you that way, and I have no idea why you're interested, and I wasn't really looking for a relationship right now . . . but sure, why not! Jared: Oh boy! Crazy kids.)

---

{"The Lantern Maker's Courtship" by William Holman Hunt}
Once I became interested in this romance thing, around age 13, I had begun to ask questions, as one does. How do people fall in love? Why would they decide to stick together for the rest of their lives? How does a marriage, well, happen?

I was (still am? debatable.) wildly idealistic. When I heard happily wed young couples use phrases like "he completes me" and "she's the perfect one for me" I would think, aha! Somewhere out in the great blue yonder is Mr. Right. My one and only soulmate. I just have to find him, or he has to find me, and everything will click. Easy peasy. So I subscribed, like most idealistic teenage girls, to the soulmate theory.

The problem with this expectation, at least for me, was that I proceeded to paint a picture of Mr. Right. If he's supposed to be perfect for me, I mused, he must have XYZ characteristics. Because after all, *I* feel that those characteristics are important.

Before long I got stuck on my formula for A Good Husband. Even though most of the required elements were great things, I had a specific vision for how they'd all fit together and in what ratio they would appear. I told myself that I was being broad-minded, but in reality there wasn't much wiggle room within my formula. Honestly, I thought that 1) my husband was going to meet my expectations and 2) we would fit together effortlessly, rather like two pieces in a cosmic jigsaw puzzle.

God stuck a big pin in that idea.

What happened?  As I watched relationships boom and bust during college, I'd realized something important: you couldn't always predict which ones would work. One attractive pair would go head over heels for one another and gallivant across campus in all their lovey-dovey glory, but a year later, they were badmouthing each other on Facebook. Then we had the mismatched, surprising couples who had remarkably different interests and butted heads every other week (you know, like adults do) but ended up getting married the day after graduation.

So when Jared asked me to date him, I didn't say, "Sorry, you aren't anything like my ideal man* so you can hit the road, Jack." Thankfully, after observing the vagaries of young collegiate love, I was a wee bit wiser.
There was evidently more to "love," I reflected, than physical attraction and surface compatibility. A lot more.

I sat down and reviewed the facts. I had never considered Jared as a potential husband, but what did I know about him? He was a hard worker. He was creative, sincere, and trustworthy. A lot of my good friends back home both respected him and enjoyed his company-- which meant a great deal to me. Okay, he didn't read Chesterton and had never gone swing dancing, and I didn't feel any butterflies when he was around. Were those things so important?

They were, but not enough for me to say no. I said yes instead.

Once people found out that Jared and I were dating, they typically asked, "How long have you liked him?" I admitted that I hadn't, and um, I still didn't. They looked perplexed. I just shrugged and grinned. It was the truth: Jared was a great guy and I thought this might work, so we were giving it a shot. Hardly romantic, but what else could I say? I had come to believe that although romance was a crucial element in marriage, it wasn't the only or even the most important element. I had watched so many puppy-dog-eyed couples splinter. Romantic attraction, I concluded, was overrated. We would need it, we absolutely would, but . . . I was willing to start without it.

Thus, during the first segment of our courtship, Jared and I were making very rational decisions, rather than  being carried along by a torrent of passion. (So much for the sparks flying when I met my soulmate.) We decided to write letters. Decided to ask each other questions. Decided to spend time with one another's families. Certainly we enjoyed it, but early on, dating felt more like tending a garden than basking in a ready-made Paradise; sometimes it was just plain frustrating, and I wondered if we'd made a mistake. However, we were building up good soil. Through our many conversations and the time we spent together that summer, we were making something beautiful.

{"Conversation With the Gardener" by Auguste Renoir}
Please note, we knew that romantic love would be a precious gift from God, and we weren't going to move towards marriage until it arrived. Obviously, the Lord did see fit that we fall in love, which was-- is-- wonderful. I am not suggesting that you should marry someone you don't feel attraction to, just because he is "a good man."

I guess my point is, a lot of our initial relationship was driven by the mind instead of the heart. That isn't the pattern for most people, granted, but it happened to be our experience and everything turned out great. Consequently, I wonder: How about that soulmate thing? Is there only one prince for every princess, someone we'll just happen upon some fine day? Or do we decide to create a lasting love?

Judging from my own experience, it is a combination. God ordains our lives, so in that sense, there is a specific "Mr. Right" out there for every Christian woman destined for wifehood. I know that Jared is the one for me; God gave me complete peace about that. However, there is a lot of tough work involved in building up love; while most people don't see that side of things until they're married, we got to experience it beforehand, and bewildering as it was at points, I'm glad. As we weren't yet floating in a sea of romance, we had to prosaically cement a deep, meaningful friendship. God crowned it with the gift of romance, but since that only happened toward the end (probably because once it did, we lost no time in getting engaged . . .) the vast majority of our dating time was spent deciding to do "loving" things instead of letting them happen to us.

So I guess I'm still skeptical of that soulmate concept. I feel like in the end, your attitude towards marriage and your overall character matters more than "finding The One."

For example, sometimes I ponder the arranged marriages that have occurred throughout history. While I know many were disastrous, many were happy. Husband and wife often learned to love one another, respect one another, work together to build a good life. Take Isaac and Rebekah. It's an extreme case: Rebekah didn't even get to see a picture of her fiance before leaving Haran, and she sure didn't know what his favorite movie was. But then again, nobody forced her to marry Isaac. She considered the matter for herself, and because she believed that God had his hand in it, off she went to meet him. And you know what? "Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her" (Genesis 24:67). It's interesting that this love story works backwards, to our modern way of thinking. Commitment came first and romance followed.

(That story helped me when I doubted my own sanity in dating a boy who I barely knew. See, it worked out all right for my namesake!)

Okay. It doesn't always work that way. Thousands of successful marriages have obviously begun with more "sizzle" than ours did. (We were sizzling plenty by the time we got to engagement, believe you me. But unlike most of our friends, it was a late addition to the equation. Ha ha.) Also, I am not holding up our courtship story as a formula to follow. Lord preserve me from formulas. So I don't wish to declare that romantic love must come straggling along behind-- only to suggest that it might. And that goes for after the wedding, too. However you got there, I believe that marital love remains a garden to be tended. There are weeds in a garden, along with the flowers. Pull out those weeds if you can, and be patient with the deep-rooted ones. Till the soil and plant the best seeds you can find. Decide to invest in that garden, whatever pops out of the soil.

Sometimes Jared makes me want to pull my hair out. Sometimes I give him a tension headache. Weeds galore. On those days, we don't like each other much. Yet on those same days, we love one another, and we insist on believing that this-- and none else-- is the marriage and spouse God has given us. Besides that, we believe that He will provide all the grace necessary to sustain it.

Which He does.

Water Under The Bridge by Jars of Clay on Grooveshark 
{our wedding dance song}

Why did I bother to write all this?

Partially for my yet-unborn daughters, in hopes that they will have a more open mind than their mother did, more faith in God's leading, and less faith in their own plans. That they will understand how the love that binds a husband and wife together reaches deeper than (though it does not skip over) emotion. That if the Lord has marriage in their future, they will wait for one who is both a joyful and wise choice-- one who arouses their affections, but is also a man who can be counted on.

I wrote partially for fellow wives (and to any husbands who happen to read this), in hopes that we'll stop holding our spouses at arm's length, critically wondering if they are "the one" to whom we should dedicate our lives. They are. Go till that garden!

Finally, I wrote this to myself, in hopes that I will always remember what a tremendous gift I've been given in my husband.

*Except that he was. I just didn't know it at the time.

21 September 2012

Weekend linkage

Me: What are you doing rummaging through the fridge?
Jared: Looking for something to drink with rum.

---

Pregnancy happenings: The tadpole is now as big as a plum. Also, it has hope of obtaining a real name: this week we put up a sheet of paper on the fridge. All suggestions are written on said sheet. The other parent is then free to cross out suggestions s/he dislikes. And now that they're written down, we realized that we actually do have quite a few good options. Even if we don't collect any more possibilities, we could pick a perfectly nice name from this list. Yay! (Suggestions still welcome though.)

I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that a large box of Diet Coke has taken up residence in our fridge. Under normal circumstances, soda doesn't darken the door of this house. Under pregnant circumstances . . . well. I discovered that a nice can of carbonation can make a big difference to my seasick stomach, and so against my better judgment, here comes the Coke.

---

A whimsical collection of bookends from Design*Sponge. I've packed most of our books already, and I was once again shocked at the sheer number. I'm convinced that we will need a room full of built-ins to properly house them all.

Oh. My. Wedding at at Chilham Castle-- here is your daily dose of beauty.

Two from xkcd this week. First, a caution to every English teacher (one I will not heed). Second, a delightful time-leech: exploring the world. The baby dragons are my favorite.

Interesting article on the woefully bad translations of Jules Verne.

Joss Whedon does a black-and-white Much Ado. I think I would like to see this.

Seriously squee-worthy: a dollhouse modeled on the mouse treehouses of Brambly Hedge. If I had this, I would play with it all day, and that is no joke.

To conclude, here is an excellent post from my friend Kristin, titled "That Which Inspires Us." Read and be challenged. She included this quotation from George Mueller:
I saw more clearly than ever that, the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord.  The first thing to be concerned about, was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man may be nourished . . . I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it.

20 September 2012

Christ to comfort and restore me

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard . . .
 
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
 
-from Saint Patrick's Breastplate

18 September 2012

thinking about food. and truth. and such.

"Alice did not quite know what to say to this: so she helped herself to some tea and bread-and-butter."
-from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Disclaimer: this ramble of a post is just me splashing both recent and long-percolating thoughts onto the computer screen, in hopes of organizing them and resolving a few mental tensions for myself. You may or may not find it useful. I hope you do.

Ahem.

---

There are so many truth claims related to diet and health floating around in the world. Often contradictory. But the interesting thing is, contradict as they may, most have compelling evidence behind them! I don't just mean scientific evidence, which can get fudged and misinterpreted anyway. (Annoying.) I'm thinking of the undeniable, living proof of human beings who thrive.

Some thrive as vegans, slurping down a green smoothie every morning and concocting cashew cheese. If you only listen to that group, you'd probably believe their claims that milk is evil and bacon will give you heart disease. Others thrive as neo-cavemen, eating half a dozen eggs every day and shunning grains as if their life depended on it (and for a number of them, it does). If you only listen to that group, you'd quickly come to believe their claims that gluten is the devil and we all need to eat more coconut oil. Still others thrive on the Weston A. Price guidelines, happily munching sourdough bread with a thick slice of raw cheddar. If you only listen to that group, you'll find yourself believing their claims that everyone should have a batch of sauerkraut fermenting on the counter, lest we DIE.

Even more interestingly, in every group you can find people who have tried a different way of eating and felt terrible doing it! The former vegetarians who now chow down on steak. The former grain-eaters who now have a bag of almond flour in the fridge. The former cheese-lovers who now stick with tofu. They each say, "I was so sick until I started to eat like I do now! You should do this too!"

All those healthy, happy people make it difficult for me to choose one "method" over another. (Well, I've also discovered that I hate "methods" in general. They stress me out and fail to recognize human complexity. That's a post for another day.) If you healed your hypothyroidism with a raw food diet, good for you. If your son's autism has improved since dropping dairy and tomatoes from his diet, hurray! I believe you. I do.

But it's not going to work for everybody.

There are some things I think we all should implement. Ditch the refined grains and sugars. Make sure you can pronounce the ingredients in your food. Get rid of toxins, maximize the nutrient-dense foods. Eat fresh. Pay attention to your body and how it reacts to certain foods! That goes for everybody, from vegan to low-carber.

And then, there are certain commonly held "healthy ideas" I fully disagree with: I believe that we need saturated fat and cholesterol, that we are designed to eat meat, and that grains have some nutritional value, though they are not the healthful shining star we've been told. I don't like that lame phrase "everything in moderation," either. Moderation is a vague term and I think that mantra is too often used as an excuse to eat cake and avoid veggies.

Finally, there are things I have discovered to be true for me personally: gluten is a troublemaker, I should eat far more vegetables than fruit, and a meal without animal protein is unsatisfactory.

So I do have some firm across-the-board dietary convictions. My children will be eating and avoiding certain foods, whether they like it or not (I hope they will . . . I mean, we have pretty good food around here, if I do say so). I just get leery of those who want to impose their extremely detailed dogma method on the rest of the world. Mostly, I dislike the scorn hurled at anyone who disagrees with them. I've got my opinions too, but I try hard not to sound as if I despise those who hold different convictions. If you ask me what I think, and I see you eating too much sugar and not enough protein, well then, I'll say so. But if you don't ask, I will probably keep my trap shut. And I will trust that you are using your brain just like I'm using mine.

I am not sure why different eating patterns work for different people. I just know that they do. That knowledge liberates me from feeling as if I need to find the perfect diet. It simply does not exist; people aren't made with cookie cutters. Thus, I don't care to label myself with anything more specific than "Real Foodie." :)

(Of course, there are probably a hundred explanations for human variation, including ancestry, blood type, and personal medical history. Plus, I suspect that some of the disagreement comes because of people's goals. A lot of strict Paleo-ers are CrossFit enthusiasts aiming for ultra-low body fat. I am . . . not aiming for that.)

I figure it's my job to take care of myself and my family, not to worry about what the rest of the world is doing. So I need to stay informed. I need to try different things and keep my mind open. And in the end, I just need to cook us some real good food.

What do you think?

---

This post on The Nourished Life, not to mention many of the comments, echoes my current stance on the topic. This one on Passionate Homemaking addresses the spiritual side. And this from Northwest Edible says it all in a much funnier way. :) Basically, I think that food matters a lot . . . but it's not God. The end.

Posted on Simple Lives Thursday.

15 September 2012

hear ye, hear ye: Shakespeare on the horizon


The West End Shakespeare Company is performing A Midsummer Night's Dream on September 21-22. They always give a great show-- you really ought to come. For tickets and more information, go right here.

14 September 2012

Weekend linkage

"People at work ask me if you're a gourmet chef or something, because I'm always bringing such amazing things in for lunch."
-Jared

Just to prove that he's capable of more than penguin-belly comments, annoying questions, and general ridicule. I promise, he is actually very nice.

---

Pregnancy happenings: I made it to church for the first time in a month, so you know things are looking up. I still feel sick, some days more than others, but I got a sudden shot of energy this week (very welcome). I also had to resort to ye olde hair-tie trick to get my jeans to fit. The tadpole is only the size of a lime, but obviously it's staking a claim. (Though oddly, I have actually lost weight in the past several weeks. How does that happen?!)

---

You guys! Jasper Fforde has a new book coming out! Pretty excited over here.

Do any of these grammar/usage mistakes trip you up? I know I misuse "moot." And I vote to erase "impactful" from the English language.

And now, articles for your spare (?) time:

Albert Mohler: Christian values don't save anyone. "Human beings are natural-born moralists, and moralism is the most potent of all the false gospels."

Sarah Clarkson: the importance of beautiful places. "I think that’s one of the gifts of great beauty. It allows us a concentrated taste of the Goodness that makes it what it is. We reach through the beauty of physical creation into the heart of its Creator. And when we encounter Beauty himself through a particular place, it becomes a sacred space and memory, a vibrant presence within our souls . . . I hope that one of the main things God allows me to do is offer such times to other people. To somehow make a home and life (preferably in some lovely corner of the earth) that offers the people who seek its shelter a taste of beauty that bears a promise, a whisper, of all the beauty that is to come."

Ann-Marie Slaughter: why women still can't have it all. "I am all for encouraging young women to reach for the stars. But I fear that the obstacles that keep women from reaching the top are rather more prosaic than the scope of their ambition."

Personally, I have many thoughts on this (I HAVE THOUGHTS!!!). Still thinking, in fact. Womanhood and feminity have been on my mind frequently, and they're tough to hash out in this society-- not that I think it's ever been easy. I have a different moral and philosophical background than does Ms. Slaughter; for example, I believe that trying to create a world where top government leadership has a 50/50 gender split is futile (furthermore, that this futility is no great tragedy). It's just never going to happen, if only for the simple reason that women--Christians or not-- tend to have an incredibly strong pull towards nurturing their children, which is a full career in itself, thanks. A very rewarding one, if the mothers I know are to be believed.

And besides, nobody can "have it all." Not men, not women, not singles, not married couples. You can only fit so much into your one narrow life, and you've got to choose wisely.

So, since I don't share the author's guiding principles, you can imagine that I'm not cheering a lot of her conclusions. But she raises a lot of provoking questions, excellent food for thought no matter your beliefs on manhood and womanhood. Go ye and read.

12 September 2012

it only goes downhill from here

Old Couple
{image credit: Miguel Tiotuico}
Me: Can we watch The Two Towers?
Jared: I probably won't be able to stay awake for the whole thing.
Me: Me neither. I shouldn't be up past 10. We can just watch the first half.
Jared: OK.

[a minute later]

Jared: Man . . . it's really lame to watch a movie in installments.
Me: My dear, I am afraid that's what we've come to.

---

A while ago we saw an elderly couple walking down the street, he lazily stretching his long shanks, she (at least a foot shorter) industriously powerwalking and chattering a mile a minute. Yes. That's going to be us in fifty years.

10 September 2012

pancakes never get old

{image credit: Keith Prickett}
I have seen countless variations of this recipe all over the internet, but there's always the chance that one of my readers hasn't. So here you go: my very simple version, a quick and delicious breakfast. And though Jack Johnson may have you believe otherwise, you don't even need to wait for a rainy morning.

Last week we were in Vermont, staying at a cabin with a nice assortment of cast iron pans, and I realized how nicely these pancakes were turning out . . . well, I want a large cast iron griddle now.

---

Flourless Banana Pancakes
(particular credit goes to Well Fed Homestead) 

1 ripe banana
2 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon butter for frying

1) Combine all ingredients except butter in blender, processing until smooth.
2) In heavy skillet, melt butter over medium heat, until sizzling. (Pay attention and adjust heat if needed to avoid burning.)
3) Each pancake should use 3-4 tablespoons batter; pour onto pan, cook until firm around edges, then flip to finish cooking. They don't take very long to cook, and are best served with a drizzle of maple syrup.

You can add a tablespoon of nut butter to the batter if you'd like more protein. I usually do . . . or I accompany them with a piece of sausage. :) And though this is only a single serving, the recipe can of course be doubled, tripled, and so forth to feed more people.

07 September 2012

Weekend linkage

Pregnancy happenings: Just when I thought my eating habits couldn't get any weirder, on Wednesday I had leftover grilled chicken and an apple for breakfast; for lunch, an entire can of refried beans (don't worry, they were organic and all healthy-like); a peanut butter cookie in the afternoon; and for dinner, some Greek yogurt, another apple, and more peanut butter. Also some grapes before I went to bed.

I do eat vegetables most days, I promise.

Secondly, though this is only tangentially related to the baby, as we'd planned to move anyway-- we have a house! If all goes smoothly, we will be homeowners at the end of October. Most of the floors, walls, and ceilings need to be redone, so we won't be able to move in immediately, but that's okay. We like this house a lot and it has just about everything we'd hoped for, including a front porch, respectable backyard, quiet neighborhood, logically designed kitchen, and two-car garage.

---

This is interesting: the 100 best typefaces of all time. Click on each name for a full history thereof. (Oddly, though, not all of them contain good examples of the typeface!)

Coolest wisteria ever.

I think this cookbook belongs in our kitchen, seeing as sriracha makes it onto the table for most meals . . . it's like our ketchup.

Though I always read my students' entire papers, sometimes I wish I could do this.

03 September 2012

boundaries in pleasant places

Stone wall
{image credit: dynamosquito}
One semi-disguised blessing of this first trimester: it has forced me to acknowledge limitations. Like most of you, I imagine, I find limits less than agreeable. I want to do everything, and under normal circumstances, I can. So I'm glad that in recent weeks I've had to bow to my own weakness and give up on certain goods.

On days where I can do little but put some laundry through and pull together a semblance of dinner, I am reminded of truths I usually try to forget-- that I live within the boundaries of my own mortality. That I am frail. That my worth isn't defined by how much I accomplish in a day. That God has each moment planned and each is perfect in His mind, whether or not I choose to see it that way.

The things I've had to relinquish vary. One: saving money! I love bargains and am willing to go out of my way to get them . . . until several weeks ago. Currently I want to go to exactly one grocery store, then get in and out as fast as possible, bargains be darned. You say the apples are 50 cents cheaper several miles down the road? A pity. And forget sorting through bins at the Amish stores I typically frequent. Once I'm not feeling sick anymore, I'm sure I will go back, but right now? Can't. Handle. It. Too many people and too much stuff.

Farmers Market
{image credit: Frank Kehren}
At first I felt sort of bad about this. Actually, scratch that, I don't think I did! I was too sick to feel guilty. :) While our grocery bill is higher than it could be, and I've not gone to a yard sale for ages, penny pinching is rather low on the list of priorities right now. As Jared says, "You don't need to be Super Coupon Lady. You can just be yourself."

So I'll pay a dollar more for the mushrooms. It's not going to kill me.

Another funny thing I've needed to accept-- also in the money-saving department I suppose-- is throwing away food. You have to understand, we never do that. Leftovers get eaten for lunch, are frozen for later, or make a quick dinner on busy weekends. Tossing perfectly good food is like putting dollar bills in the trash, I have said to myself. Of course, do you know what I've done more of these past two weeks than in the previous two years of our marriage? Toss perfectly good food. Some things, I just can't stand to look at. Like green bean salad . . . gross. Or zucchini quiche. Ugh, giving me nightmares. I still enjoy green beans and eggs in general, so why these particular dishes were wigging me out, I've no idea. But into the trash can they went.

The list could continue. Sweeping all the corners, answering my emails promptly, getting together with friends, babysitting other people's kids, daily exercise, organization projects, artistic endeavors, preserving summer produce, caring for my flowers. Those things have sailed out the proverbial window. I have to sleep instead.

I suppose this is how God often works with his stubborn children (of which I'm decidedly one). I don't listen when I have a choice not to. So after a while, He just doesn't give me a choice. I really cannot deceive myself, now, into thinking that I have control over my life or that I can give my days meaning through impressive actions. (Not much impressive going on around here.) It's obvious: I am weak. Only the Lord is strong.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance . . .
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
(Psalm 16:5-8)