Thursday, April 23, 2009

Second Thoughts on Butterflies

I must confess found myself wanting to kill butterflies yesterday.

Ever since I was little, I have liked most sorts of bugs. I loved butterflies and moths. I wanted a pet praying mantis to keep on a string and catch pesky flies and misquotes. I was the advocate for fly spiders, those black, fuzzy, stocky-legged, hopping arachnids, and when their indoor lives were threatened I usually managed to remove them to the safety of outside using a cup and sheet of paper. I'm not fond of all bugs, but the only ones which consistently give me shivers and call out no amount of sympathy are cockroaches.

Butterflies? Why would I want to kill such harmless pretty things?

Let me explain. If you came to visit, I could show you the scenes of carnage wreaked by those "harmless" flying worms. These horrible scenes are found mostly on our little red cabbage plants. I pulled the worms off in disgust the first time I thought to look. Holes don't appear by themselves.

But let me tell you how those holes get there, may I?

First, it starts with an egg, generally hidden on the underside of the doomed leaf.

See those specks? The eggs are the size of a comma or smaller. Usually there are more than one. After a while (I'm guessing a day or two), out comes a tinsy weensy worm, barely bigger than the egg, threadlike and "cute".

The first act of said "cute" worm is to devour its surrounding and grow rapidly.

Now, I've begun waging a battle. Every few days I try to inspect each vulnerable leaf and carefully clear it of those tiny white specks, before they become large green monsters-er, worms. Our newer cabbages, thus far, are relatively hole-free. But every time I step outside, there are the butterflies, fluttering about like white petals, flitting from flower to flower... and hanging around the cabbages. I begin to make some connections.

I like cabbage. I want my family to be able to eat bountifully from our garden. Worms will eat it first if given the chance. Butterflies make worms, and more worms make more butterflies to make more worms. I might be bigger, but there are more of them. Who will win?

So, yesterday I gave our cat Bella permission to munch on any butterfly she might catch. And I wondered how hard it would really be to begin squishing them all myself.

Thus goes the spine-tingling backyard drama. But would you believe there is a spiritual application as well?

Here it is. Butterflies are like sins which appear harmless, fun, and pretty. But they have dire consequences in our lives. We must be constantly on guard, and we must have help!

Are we the gardener or the cabbages? Well, we are called to put away sin and things that entangle us, to resist the devil, to wield the Sword of the Spirit. In those ways we are like the gardener, and must be diligent and wise. The realization that butterflies were gorging themselves on our cabbage was the final thing that clicked. In a similar way, the best call to action against sin is the realization of what is at stake, of loving the good that is being lost.

But even with our best efforts, we cannot defeat sin alone. In that case, we are as helpless as the cabbages. Praise be to God, the Master Gardener, for saving us from the worms!

White Teeth?

Good article today at Boundless!

"In this life, we live amidst the pretty, the corrupt, and the artificial. We live among those who do not believe beauty exists, and among those who think beauty can be manufactured. In such a context, we are the ones who have to say we know beauty, and it is none other than Jesus Christ the Lord." ~Dr. Albert Mohler~

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Strunk, White, and Longbows

Yes, I skipped a day. Oops.

I am mulling through Strunk and White, hoping to improve my writing. Brevity and conciseness are not my strong points, but I hope to work on them. Also, the book has mentioned that good writing is concrete and specific, not vague and abstract. I want to grow in that area. I'm really rather wimpy and indefinite sometimes when I write. And when I speak, for that matter.

So, for an exercise, I shall attempt to finish this post in precise, definite, meaningful language.

My milk-and-sugared tea, creamy brown in the pert pottery mug, sits in the kitchen growing cold, ready to be microwaved again. I sliced a thick slab of bread (my softest, lightest yet! Thanks for the recipe, Chelsa!) to toast and spread with butter or jam. It lies drying on the counter. It should "only take a minute" to post... Right, right.

Know what else I'm itching for, besides an end to dandruff? I want to write a Robin Hood tale. A stirring adventure of longbow and sword, honoring the history and legend but taking them a step further. What if Robin Hood were a serious Christian? What if the other events in England were not ignored, such as the signing of the Magna Charta? What if the whole justice (or injustice) of "robbing from the rich to give to the poor" were handled with a Biblical view of government and morality?

These vague longings for a tale have been swirling in my head for days. I can't grab them quite yet, or I would write something down. Patience. With any spare time I could be studying the time period. Unless I decide to set it in Melod's world...

Oh right, tea and toast! Cherio!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Mumblings

April is speeding by, and soon May will arrive, filled with graduations, the beginning of summer breaks, a brother's birthday, a good friend's wedding, travel, and another opportunity to take care of our friends' critters!

In the meantime it is Monday afternoon, and I'm afraid I feel rather lazy and mindless. I want to build a habit of posting here regularly, but at the moment have nothing stunning to say.

Let's see. I just came back from helping with the last day of Good News Club for the school year. I was telling the kids about Corrie Ten Boom, who has an amazing story of courage, forgiveness, and the faithfulness of God.

In a few days the lady who heads up our Club has organized a spaghetti dinner for the kids and their families. That should be exciting. I think quite a few of the kids are either Christians already or at least go to church some. But this is a great opportunity to share the gospel with their families, in the likely chance that there are some unsaved among them. Our church is generously providing space to have the dinner (and I think food as well), which is a blessing!

We might have stuffed pita bread for supper tonight. Dough is rising, but my creativity feels quite low at the moment. But God is still good. :-) Have a blessed day!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Truly Scrumptious Yogurt

Yogurt is extremely good for you, but have you ever read the labels of most little pre-flavored, pre-sweetened single-serving containers? How much extra sugar and other stuff actually goes in there? Not only that, but wouldn't it be more cost-efficient to buy it in larger quantities?

Since I don't have a source of affordable raw milk to make my own yogurt, I've become a fan of Dannon's All Natural Plain kind. I can't exactly buy it in bulk, but I get the 2 lb tubs for about $2.09 each. That is inexpensive compared to the fancy smancy "organic" brands. But here's the impressive part:

Ingredients: Cultured Grade A Milk.

Or, as their container says, "No Artificial Anything." Until I can make my own, I think this is the best I can get.

A delicious way to sweeten and eat plain yogurt

1. Spoon plain yogurt into a small bowl, preferably of the charming or simple sort.

2. Add a spoon of raspberry preserves (my very favorite berry!), a spoon of brown sugar, or a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Or all three. You could also be creative and add nuts, other fruits, cookie crumbs, etc.

3. Eat with relish! (No, of course not the pickle kind. Though, you never know...) You might want to stir yours first, but I think it's more exciting for each bite to contain a different ratio of creamy tartness, brown sugar delight, and raspberry bliss. If you don't think raspberries are blissful, I'm very sorry for you. ;)

4. Repeat whenever needed. Feed it to your family for dessert! Offer it to visiting friends who already know you're a bit unconventional!

WARNING!! Even if eating plain yogurt seems way too tart at first, a few bowls of this might have you craving the stuff. I even like it plain now... though, raspberries are at one of the pinnacles of scrumptiousness. Oh, did I mention I love raspberries?

(I'm shocked to see that, until now, I have had no labels for "food" posts! I think I've blogged about food before, though...maybe that was when I didn't do labels? Anyway, if I get into a habit of taking good pictures, I'll definitely do more food posts. I know I enjoy looking at such things on other blogs! Few things are more picturesque and inspiring than photos of mouth-watering yummies, and words can only say so much alone.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Source of Radiance

Those who look on Him are radiant,
And their faces shall never be ashamed.
~Psalm 34:5~

This is what I want - to radiate Christ's glory and beauty and holiness. To reflect joyfully what is all from Him, as the moon mirrors the sun's light, as a lonely person beams with delight at sight of an old and beloved friend. But of course, so much greater is our joy from God!


As my dear Daddy noticed, I'm attempting again to post daily. Let's see how long I can keep it up, shall we?

My tendency is to spend way too much time reading other blogs, so if I need to vacate myself from the blog world altogether, this may be short-lived. I've felt an uncomfortable conviction lately that I need to redeem my time, that I've been piddling too much of it away. So I'm praying about what that will look like and mustering courage to make some changes.

Now, I know pictures make blogs way more exciting, but one constructive habit at a time is hard enough to form, so I can't promise regular pics. What else might you my readers like to see in my posts? Descriptions of the garden's progress? What we have for dinner? Quotes on a particular subject? Book/movie/music reviews? Theological quandries? Rants on the culture? Stories from my childhood?

Have a redemptive Thursday, do hard things, look to the Lord and be radiant!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Giving to Caesar

I'm glad that understanding and filing your taxes perfectly is not a condition to get to heaven or we should be in desperate straits! I did them as accurately and thoughtfully as I could. But the instructions had me rather bewildered and bewuthered last night.

I do not believe that, by necessity, any amount of taxes the government decides to make up is right. Authorities can overstep their God-given boundaries! When they do, it is the duty of good citizens to speak up. But I think a look at history calls us to wisdom in how we do so. Remember the caution of our Nation's founders. They took every possible pain to get justice without bloodshed. I pray our tax system can be reformed, but it will never happen in the angry way of the French Revolutionists.

And Jesus said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at Him. Mark 12:17

They were amazed because Jesus not only answered the question, but went after their hearts of hypocrisy. Taxes are important in that we are to obey the authorities God has placed over us, but of greater importance is our duty to the Highest Authority.

What is God's tax? All I have I owe to him, and yet His grace is a free gift! My place in heaven is secure forever because of Christ. Now, He invites me to give all I have to Him for my greater joy!

Today, am I giving God what is His?

Mysterious Characters

Surrounded by the aura of candlelight, two figures poured diligently over manuscripts of wisdom and adventure.

"He's one of them Rangers. Dangerous folk they are, wanderin' the Wild. What 'is right name is I've never 'eard, but around 'ere, 'es known as Strider... Or was it Bob?"

Greetings from Lady Rael and Sir Robert! Won't you join us in our literary journey? There's plenty of tea to refresh you before you must travel on!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Money and Thoughts From the Kitchen

Nope, I haven't started a entrepreneurial baking business. Though, I very much like that idea. One of these day I'd love to have a bakery and tea shop. Oh, with a vintage bookstore in the adjoining room, and a garden and chickens out back, and quaint little living quarters upstairs. With my own eccentric writing nook in a window overlooking mountains.

Yep, I'm rather an unrealistic romantic when I get started on my "One day"s. :-)

But at the moment I'm quite pleased with my current situation. What I meant by my title is that I've been sitting in our cluttered but pleasant kitchen, typing away for my new writing job.

For those who don't know, I recently accepted a part-time job writing for our church. At the moment, I'm helping turn a study on biblical relationships (which is currently in note-form, PowerPoint, and audio recordings) into a book. I confess the idea intimidated me at first, but really, all I'm doing is soaking up this great biblical teaching and helping get it into the clearest and easiest form to pass on to more people. How exciting is that?

A huge reason this job is a blessing is that I can do most of it at home! I've committed to working 10 hours a week, which doesn't sound like much. But it's more than I had thought! Of course I like writing, but I also find it easier to flutter around doing house jobs, making fresh bread, even doing dishes, than sitting myself down to write.

My piddling distractions are becoming painfully bothersome. I may have to fast from reading fictional and blogs, painful as it would be. Would I survive, do you think? ;)

In other news, we had a glorious weekend. I was able to meditate on the deep sorrow and endless joy of Christ's death and resurrection, and read a lot of John. We visited my dear "college family" on the farm Friday night, and Saturday morning went to mow my grandparents' loooong driveway. That night we drove back home, though we had to take shelter at a Sonic during a rain-and-hail storm. Sunday after church we had lunch with my other grandparents, and then a quiet evening in our own cozy house.

The kitchen is quiet now, and my espresso is beginning to wear off. Plenty to do tomorrow, as always! If I ever thought my life at home after college would be dull, how very wrong I was! How did the Proverbs 31 lady do it all?

Friday, April 10, 2009


While reading the Boundless blog, a link in today's post made me weep.

It happened 2,000 years ago. The innocent Lamb of God died in my place. I plan to read the account in at least one of the Gospels today. I just read Isaiah 53 this morning. But some things must be seen to feel their weight and horror.

Passover Sacrifice

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

~Isaiah 53:4,5