31 March 2011

A lamb in a broad pasture

"Like a stubborn heifer, Israel is stubborn;
can the Lord now feed them like a lamb in a broad pasture?"
-Hosea 4:16


This verse really struck me today. It emphasizes the Lord's love for Israel; it implies His desire to "feed them like a lamb" and place them "in a broad pasture." In the middle of a book full of diatribe, the chastisement of an unfaithful people, this verse is an interesting note of tenderness. How often am I stubborn like Israel, and how often does the Lord faithfully draw me back to the broad pastures of His peace?

27 March 2011

The march of [culinary] progress

Pizza? It's good. And the dough I used to make? That was good. But this? Oh honey, it's so much better. In flavor and texture, we both agree: this recipe knocks the bobby socks off the old one.

Despite the lengthy details, this comes together quickly. The longest part is the rise, and you don't have to do anything for that! Since this makes two pizzas, we always have leftovers, perfect for lunches or a quick dinner later in the week. (Reheat on the pizza stone for best results and no sogginess.)

Pizza Dough
(original from The Way the Cookie Crumbles)

5 cups flour*
1¾ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon raw sugar
2 teaspoons instant ("rapid rise") yeast

1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 3/4 cups warm water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1) Stir together dry ingredients in bowl of stand mixer. Turn mixer on low speed and pour in water and olive oil. Increase speed to medium low and knead dough for 8 minutes. Toward the end, check dough and add a touch more flour or water if needed to achieve a smooth and supple consistency.
2) Shape dough into a ball and place in large greased bowl. Cover with clean towel and let rise at least 90 minutes, or up to 2 1/2 hours. We think it tastes better the longer this rise lasts, but if you are pressed for time and go with the shorter option, it's still delicious!
3) Deflate risen dough gently and divide in half, shaping each half into a ball. Let rise uncovered on lightly greased or floured counter for 30 minutes more. Meanwhile, preheat oven (and pizza stones if using) to 500F, which usually takes my oven 30 minutes. This is also when you should fry sausage, slice olives, chop basil, and do any other topping-related prep work.
4) Carefully remove piping hot stones from preheated oven and place on a heatproof surface; I use a large wooden cutting board. Gently stretch and flatten pizza dough into two rounds on the greased or floured counter, letting gravity and your fingers do most of the work. It takes a bit more time and patience than rolling it out with a pin, but for this soft, elastic dough, stretching is the best technique.
5) Transfer dough to pizza stones.* The easiest way to do this is to fold the circle dough into quarters, lift it onto the stone, and unfold it. Reshape carefully so you don't burn yourself on the stone! If you are just using a cookie sheet, of course, it will not have preheated and the need for caution disappears. :)
6) Top as you please. Red onions and sauteed spinach are two of our current favorites. Don't overload it though, or it will get soggy.
7) Bake 10-12 minutes. I put one on the bottom rack, one on the top, and switch them halfway through; crust gets crispy and cheese gets bubbly but nothing burns. Slide onto large cutting board and slice with large, sharp chef's knife or pizza cutter. (I prefer the knife.) Serve straight from board, or slide onto wire rack. Let any leftovers cool completely and then refrigerate.

*I like to use 2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour, 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, and 1 cup semolina flour. Use whatever you want, whether it's 100% white flour or a combination of others.
**By this point in my kitchen career, I don't need to grease mine anymore because they are so well seasoned. But you may want to coat yours with nonstick spray.

{image: a poster from the 1964 World's Fair}

26 March 2011

Weekend links

If you like Star Wars, men who sing, and laughing, please watch this a capella John Williams tribute by Moosebutter. (Those of you who were at the CLCHM concert heard the guys' choir perform it last night.)

This sounds like an interesting read, but the title is what gets me. Yes, I'm one of those weird microwave-phobes.

Another song! The brand new Westminster Catechism Rap, courtesy of Voice . . . and D.A. Carson. I'm not kidding.

Mark Bittman on oatmeal, McDonalds', and how not to eat breakfast.

I think this is awesome: a town in Maine declares "food sovereignty." They're trying to escape government regulation of local food, such as raw milk. In other words, stickin' it to the FDA.

24 March 2011

51 Weeks [in which things are said]

WARNING: Obscenely Long Post Ahead.

First of all, the comment volume on this series-- at least four times as much as a typical post, except perhaps for when I was in Turkey-- has really amused me. Romance draws a crowd.

Now, about those two conversations. I guess there were three.

In July we went to a family wedding near Scranton, and Jared came along. We drove up on Saturday morning, and the wedding took place that afternoon and evening. We stayed in a hotel that night (a saga in itself, but you'll have to ask my dad if you want the most colorful retelling and best imitation of the proprietor's Indian accent) and drove home on Sunday. Awkwardness abounded. Conversation was stilted. What is he thinking? What should I say? The ease of our first date had evaporated. Now I preferred to joke around with Luke than with Jared. At the reception, we didn't dance, and this was a big deal to me; afterwards we argued* about it. My relatives teasingly alluded to wedding bells and I, a quivering mess inside, pretended to smile. I felt like everybody had a clear vision of my future . . . except me.

I was miserable.

On Sunday evening, I finally spilled these problems to my parents. (Conversation number one.) I had no idea where our relationship was going and felt unfairly benighted on that score; I was convinced that Jared liked me no more than any other girl in the universe; I was terrified that love would never appear at all and our courtship would stall, yet outwardly putter on because we had no way of discussing that issue. When was love supposed to appear anyway? It seemed like we had done the "getting to know you" thing long enough. Shouldn't the "winning my heart" thing start soon? For goodness' sakes, how was I supposed to know if I wanted to marry him, if he didn't do something to take our friendship past its current level? But how could I communicate this need to him, since he was the one leading the relationship?

If you can't tell, I was a little very angry and was also blaming Jared for most all of the problems. As if he were intentionally tormenting me. Silly girl. :)

When the foaming emotions had subsided, the issue boiled down to this: I needed clarity. Daddy, who incidentally had much more compassion for my boyfriend than I did, offered to broach the subject with him.

I am grateful that as Jared and I dated, we were "under" our parents, who kept a loving eye on us and helped us to sort out tangled issues. They never gave us orders and they refrained from giving perpetual advice; they knew we were adults and had no interest in micromanaging our relationship. Yet they also knew that we needed help, and were glad to give it.

So. Daddy bought some beers, called Jared, and went to talk business. (Conversation number two.) Jared was informed that 1) I did not think that he liked me very much, 2) he therefore needed to chase me, 3) I was not at that point particularly inclined to be caught, 4) he therefore should feel free to do so in any manner he saw fit.

Aaaaannnd . . . GO.

The romance signal had turned green, and as I understand it, this was very helpful to my poor boyfriend. All of a sudden, I found myself being romanced. (Apparently Jared didn't need too much encouragement.) Within a few weeks of conversation number two, I had no doubts about his feelings. For the first time in my life I was reveling in the knowledge of a man's affection for me, and of course, I found it indescribably sweet.

Smooth sailing from here on out? Ah no. You forgot there were three conversations, didn't you? Jared had changed, but alas, I had not altogether followed suit. I still couldn't see myself marrying him. Time had to play a role, time and patience, just as before. Only this round, I felt guilty; here I had gotten exactly what I wanted, a convincing and consistent demonstration of Jared's serious intentions, and my heart hadn't budged a bit.

Well, I wanted to wait and see. However, I also wanted Jared to know where I stood. I felt that by asking my dad to talk to Jared, I might have sent the message that I was, so to speak, ripe for the picking . . . when in fact I was still quite green. Now I feared that unless I made that clear, I would be leading Jared on. Which was approximately the last thing in the world I wanted to do.

(You know, it sounds paranoid now that I put it into words, but at the time it was a legitimate concern. I just can't squeeze all of the events or emotions of that month into one blog post. You'll have to take my word for it.)


Cue conversation number three, a.k.a. one of the most awkward conversations of my life.

One warm summer morning, Jared took me to the gardens at the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown. Lovely gardens, truly, but I was occupied by my own worries. What's wrong with me? Why don't I like him? He's amazing. He's a great friend. And he likes me, I know he does. HELLO. What's wrong with me? This is ridiculous. I'm ridiculous. Wouldn't any other girl be in love with him by now? What's wrong with me?! We finally sat down on a bench and started to talk, and the conversation edged toward Our Relationship. Oh boy. Now or never.

I honestly don't how I managed to tell Jared that I had noticed his recent change of tone, deeply appreciated it, thought he was a wonderful person, was still not in love with him, thought I might get there soon, wanted him to keep pursuing me, was frustrated with my own emotions, and hoped that he could be patient.

But I did. He understood. We ate Vietnamese food for lunch. None the worse for wear, Jared continued on his new trajectory, "chasing me" with obvious gusto and never minding if I reciprocated. If it took time to win me over, so be it. He had to find a job anyway.

[Side note: at this point Jared had moved out of his parents' house, into an awesome stone farmhouse on our church's large property,  in order to work as the caretaker for that property. This was only a part-time job, however.]

If Daddy's conversation with Jared was a big turning point for him, this other conversation at the Masonic Gardens was a big turning point for me. It was as if I'd finally admitted my weakness, my inability to boss my emotions around. I had essentially said that if anything was to happen here, it would be God's doing, not mine. I turned my heart over to Him-- the creator of love, after all-- and waited.

By the time my birthday came around, I was feeling a lot more stable. That breakdown had been the beginning of a renewed trust in God, which produced a serenity I had not felt since the beginning of our relationship. Time for me to stop striving, to let go of my timetable, to be quiet before Him. Jared was leading me; my parents were watching over me; God, above all, loved me. Everything was going to be okay.

Then a few days after my birthday, we went to a Phillies game. It was awfully enjoyable, greasy pizza and all, and I promptly fell in love with the game . . .

. . . or maybe I was falling in love with something else.

*That is, we strongly expressed differing points of view, tried to convince the other person to agree, failed, and ended with us me in a funk and Jared confused.

ahoy, discoveries! vol. 4

1. My laptop is in the kitchen a lot. To protect it, I have taken to spreading a piece of clear plastic wrap over the keyboard. I don't remember where I picked up this trick but it sure is handy.

2. I miss school; I miss sitting in class, discussing ideas and delving into books. Well, audio books from the library and Librivox have helped with that. Novels, short stories, and nonfiction while I do household chores. It's wonderful. Right now I'm working through a biography of John and Abigail Adams and loving it. Jared and I downloaded Howard Pyle's "Men of Iron" and a history of naval battles from Librivox and took them on a 20-hour car trip: that was great.

3.The fun that can be had with a bunch of green onions, a few lemons, and a handful of fresh parsley. Green onions brighten up taco soup. Lemon zest adds an interesting twist to peach cobbler. Chopped parsley, tossed into buttered brown rice, gives it a boost of color and flavor. I like these small ingredients that make such a big difference.

22 March 2011

51 Weeks [in which there is weeping and gnashing of teeth]

Now that I had come home for good, Jared and I were together two or three times a week, whether out on a date, at a church event, or with our families. Speaking of families, we quickly found that we loved spending time with both sides, different as they were.

(I think the best way to explain that is with an illustration.  If my family is walking down the street, it looks like a circus parade. Someone running, someone skipping, someone singing, someone piggybacking another. If his family is walking down the street, they . . . well, walk.

This difference plays itself out in our marriage, but we like it. Yesterday Jared and I were indeed strolling down a sidewalk; he looked down at me and laughed, "I can always tell when you're happy. You start to bounce.")

One of the first things we did that summer was go to NEXT, a Sovereign Grace Ministries conference aimed at young adults. It was a great weekend of learning and growing in faith; we also grew in our relationship because we saw each other almost all day, three days in a row. I enjoyed doing normal things together, not just "date" things. Buying train tickets, carrying luggage, packing lunches. That carried over to the rest of the summer. I loved it when we had a chance to work alongside one another (this often happened in the context of church events, such as when we helped to move Millersville University students into their dorms).

We apparently took Mark and Rachel to Pine View for ice cream. :)

In the midst of all these actions was plenty of emotion to make things interesting. I had no qualms about opening up my fears, hopes, and insecurities to Jared; he seemed to have no qualms about listening, then walking through them with me. At the beginning of the summer, those emotions had less to do with our relationship than with life in general. I was so happy to find that when I admitted my weaknesses, he moved in to meet them, rather than backing away nervously.

Furthermore, whenever we had a conflict we addressed it head-on. Neither of us like letting arguments simmer on the back burner. We talked about our problems, honestly addressed the issues behind them, and did our best to restore peace quickly.

So one of the greatest things I realized in those months was that I could trust Jared-- a rare thing.

But how was it going in the romance department? Herein lies the drama.

My family went on vacation to Maine, and I missed Jared. We came back, and I wanted to spend time with him. However, my feelings for him were definitely not moving beyond friendship, as I thought they should by this time.

Mostly, I wasn't certain how he felt. Did he like me? I supposed he did, since we were still dating. But really. Did he like me?

I wished for some confirmation of his affection, for words or actions that would tell me which way he was leaning. I had a tight grip on my heart and refused to open it up for love until I knew it would be reciprocated. Despite the lovely things we did together, and despite the countless qualities I admired in him, I realized that I could not marry Jared yet. I wanted to love him, but I most certainly did not. And I was wise enough to know that pretending would do no one good.

I was growing frustrated. My extreme swings of emotion frightened me and made me doubt if I would ever, in a rather Austenite phrase, "come to know my mind."

To make matters worse, I felt as if most people around us assumed that we were madly in love and that we'd already made wedding plans. Hardly! At this point, I would sometimes ask myself what I'd do if we were to break up, and never felt terrible about the possibility. Certainly it would be sad, and I would wish that it had turned out differently, but I had no attachment beyond that of close friendship-- and that, most likely, could be maintained even if we stopped dating. I knew that marriage was not an option as long as I felt this way.

Now I realize that time was the missing ingredient (well, and a few other things, but we'll get to that later). But for most of that summer I could not see any way forward. It seemed like Jared was perfectly fine with how things were going. So I was the one hanging back. Fantastic. How was I going to get through this?

I suppose this phase of our courtship crescendoed at the end of July, when two very important conversations took place . . .

We have an advocate with the Father

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us . . .

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

-1 John 1:6-2:2

21 March 2011

And they really did look like this

Then they looked like this.

Then, finally, they looked like this.
My mom told me, last fall, about a marvelous new thing she'd been making for breakfast. . . Dutch babies. Puffed pancakes you whirl in the blender and bake in the oven. For some reason, it took me till now to give them a try.

Please don't procrastinate like I did. They were perfect. They were delicious. And we will be making them again.

Jared wanted to know if babies in Holland are particularly soft and poofy?

Dutch Babies
(from Smitten Kitchen, where Deb calls them German Pancakes... I prefer the sillier name)

6 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup flour*

3 tablespoons softened butter
3/4 teaspoon salt

1) Preheat oven to 400. Place three 9-inch cake pans or deep-dish pie plates in the oven to preheat along with it.
2) Crack eggs into a blender and process on low until light yellow. With blender still running on low, add remaining ingredients and process until smooth, for at least one minute. Make sure you really beat the batter well; you want to incorporate plenty of air, because that is what helps them to puff.
3) Remove hot pans from oven and coat lightly with nonstick spray. Divide batter evenly among pans and return to oven.
4) Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Open oven, marvel at the magical puff, and gently touch the Dutch babies to see if they are done. remove from oven, loosen edges with spatula, and slide onto plates. Top with butter, maple syrup, sliced peaches, applesauce, Greek yogurt, raw honey, or anything else you like on your pancakes.
5) If not done after 20 minutes, rotate pans, reduce heat to 350 and bake for 5-10 more minutes. Serve as directed above.

This obviously makes three pancakes, one of which is enough for me. However, my husband polished off two (he usually eats 50% to 100% more than I do at breakfast). So scale accordingly. The original recipe made two pancakes, but I knew that somebody around here would need more than one, so I increased the recipe by half. Not hard to reduce it again if that suits you better. :)

I'm looking forward to trying fruit- or sausage-filled Dutch babies. They say that one can put fried apples, sausage slices, etc. in the bottom of the pan before pouring in the batter . . . we'll find out soon.

*I have used all white flour, half whole wheat, and all whole wheat. It seems to me that as long as you beat the batter thoroughly right before pouring it into the pans, they will puff perfectly.

{images from food bloggers Thyme for Food, Smitten Kitchen, and Joy the Baker, in that order}

According to His promise we are waiting

The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!

But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

-2 Peter 3:10-14


When spring begins to creep into the world again... when snowdrops crowd along the stream... when the pale blue heavens and grass-fringed earth seem brighter and more hopeful... I think of promises like these.

Someday spring, its delicate beauty and the joy it carries, will be multiplied eternity-fold. The old dross of the world will burn. The marvels of heaven will bloom. And righteousness will dwell there.

{image credit: ThePhotopainter on Flickr}

18 March 2011

Weekend links

>>What a genius idea. Lost your phone? Use this website to find it.

>>Two excellent blog posts from the past week. One from Ray Ortlund on quietness before the Lord, and one from Passionate Homemaking on battling depression, Scripturally and naturally.

>>If you saw Jane Eyre last weekend, here's the soundtrack on Grooveshark. Even if you didn't, check it out. I'm addicted.

>>Motivation to stop drinking so much coffee: this graph and this video. (Translated version here, but it's more fun without subtitles. Also, if you watch the translation, be warned that it includes a few less-than-choice words.)

>>I wanted to make a breakfast casserole, didn't want to buy frozen hashbrowns. Google search, et voila-- how to make your own frozen hashbrowns. It worked! I have a couple of bags in the freezer for later use.

17 March 2011

Stellar filmmaking right here.

One of the best songs from one of the best Disney movies ever made.

I could never decide if Robin Hood or Thomas O'Malley was my favorite Disney hero. (The Beast was a close runner-up.)

This song is horribly catchy (though the movie's ridiculous dichotomy between patriarchal oppression and equality-obsessed feminism doesn't do so much for me).

And of course, if you're feeling a little wonky, there's always pink elephants.

His precious and very great promises

"May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire."

-2 Peter 1:2-4

My goodness, I'd forgotten how much I love 2 Peter. I could spend days just meditating on this passage (and I probably will).

Grace and peace multiplied . . . everything for life and godliness . . . called to God's own glory and excellence . . . precious and great promises . . . partaking in the divine nature . . . escaped from the world's corruption. Truth too rich for my mind to process in one sitting! And these are just a few verses.

16 March 2011

Rejects no longer [stock, sugar, and other tasty things]

How I've been turning kitchen scraps into good food.

1) Chicken stock. For as long as I've been paying attention in the kitchen, I cannot remember my mom buying canned broth (okay, maybe twice). What I do remember is a big pot simmering on the back of the stove, releasing a savory, inviting aroma whenever the lid was lifted. What was in there? Homemade chicken stock. Now I make it too.

First roast a chicken for dinner. It's easier than you may think. My mom does it in the oven; I do it in my crockpot. Trim off the excess fat, rinse and pat dry with paper towel. Quarter an onion or two and put it in the bottom of the crockpot, along with the giblets from the chicken. Rub herbs and salt and pepper all over the bird, stick it in the crockpot, pour some white wine and olive oil on top, and cook for 2 hours and 45 minutes on high . . . at least, that's the timing for my crockpot. (One thing I know: whether in the crockpot or the oven, high heat for a short time is better than low heat for a long time. The latter option gives you dry meat.)

Anywho, after dinner cut the leftover meat from the chicken's carcass, and use it for whatever you'd like later in the week. Now the fun begins. Put the entire carcass, the juices left on the platter, any stray bones or skin, and those giblets and quartered onions into a heavy stockpot (or back into your crockpot). Add water to cover-- I usually end up with 3 quarts of stock at the end, so I guess that's how much water I add. It is better to err on the side of too little water than too much, because it's nicer to have a super-strong broth than a wimpy one. You can always add more water next time.

Now if you're using a pot on the stove, bring it all to a rolling boil and immediately turn it down to the lowest heat possible. Cover and let simmer overnight. (Yes, the stove will be on overnight. My parents have been doing this for years now and their house has never burned down.) If you're using a crockpot, just let it cook on low heat overnight.

N.B: If you're doing this on the stove, FOR GOSH SAKES REMEMBER TO TURN THE POT DOWN TO LOW. If you don't, you'll end up with a smoky kitchen and possibly a smoky house. And you'll have one heck of a time scrubbing that charred pot. You want to know how I found that out?! Yeah, there's a reason I use the crockpot now.

In the morning, shut off the stove or crockpot and let the stock cool for several hours. Strain it, discard solids, and store in quart containers. Old yogurt or sour cream containers are great for this. This will keep in the fridge for quite a while, and in the freezer for even longer. If you freeze it, make sure you leave about 3/4 inch of headspace, because it will expand.

I also save carrot or celery peelings and trimmings in a container in the freezer. Whenever I make stock, into the pot they go. Even more delicious.

2) Orange and vanilla sugar. Winter is citrus season and we've been eating lots of navel oranges. Rather than throw all the peels away, I sliced some thinly and put them into a pint jar of plain white sugar. Four or five days later, the sugar had a fabulous orange flavor. (And the peels were gorgeously sugar-coated. I kind of ate them all.) I did the same thing with a vanilla bean a while ago . . . put it in a small jar of sugar and let the flavor infuse. Now I have special sugars to top baked oatmeal, stir into tea, or sprinkle on pancakes.

N.B: The sugar got obnoxiously clumpy because of the moisture in the orange peels. So I let it sit out in a bowl for a few days to dry, then whizzed it up in my food processor. All better.

3) Croutons. Stale bread is of course excellent for French toast. However, it's also excellent for croutons. Slice that bread into small cubes and spread them on a plate. Let them dry out for several days. Toss with olive oil, lots of salt, and some herbs if you like. Toast them at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Voila, croutons.

4) Pizza, omelets, and soup. These are really wonderful for using up odds and ends in the refrigerator or pantry. You don't always need a recipe, you know. :) If you can make pizza crust* you can put anything you want on it. If you have eggs you have the material for an omelet. If there is some chicken stock in the fridge, then hey, a soup is nothing more than stock with things in it. Once you learn which flavors go well together-- potatoes and thyme, chicken and paprika, spinach and mushrooms-- chuck the recipe and wing it. You'll be surprised at what you can invent.

*I need to post the new and better recipe I found . . .

{image credit: adam cunningham on Flickr}

15 March 2011

51 Weeks [in which things progress]

When Spring Break rolled around, I started telling more people about our relationship; I knew that the beans would spill as soon as I got back to Lancaster, so I wanted to make sure that certain people heard it from me! Again, everyone shared my excitement. I'd been known as a stubborn non-dater throughout college,* so my friends knew that if I had a boyfriend, it was serious.

You know, that was really fun. Having a boyfriend, I mean. It's one of those things I only ever did once . . . and while having a husband tops dating in every possible respect, that first stage was still wonderful. I'm glad I was able to savor it. The whole process, not only the end goal, was a joy.

End rabbit trail. Like I said, everybody was delighted. (I specifically remember Andrew Odell getting this huge grin on his face and saying "That's AMAZING!") Gretchen came home with me for Spring Break, which I very much appreciated, because with her lovely company, I didn't have a lonely plane ride to make me nervous. Honestly, I felt like I was about to meet my boyfriend for the first time. Weird.

Despite this weirdness, I never contracted the case of first-date-nerves I had so dreaded. When Jared knocked on the door the next evening, spiffed up and a white rose in hand, I could do nothing but smile. Off we went. And whether driving in the car, browsing through a bookstore while waiting for a table (Saturday night is pretty busy at the Olive Garden), or eating our tortellini and gnocchi, conversation flowed. There were no awkward pauses, and I don't think either of us were afraid. We had already said so much in our letters-- revealed good and bad about ourselves-- that this part was easy.

When I came home that night, Gretchen took one look at me, laughed, and said, "Shall I buy tickets for your wedding?" Hmm . . . I must have been glowing. Funny how that happens.

The rest of the week, Jared and I saw each other almost every day. Sometimes he came to my parents' house, sometimes we went out by ourselves; once or twice Gretchen was our obliging third wheel. It was all wonderful. I had no illusions of love just yet, but I did know that I really liked this boy, and was thrilled to be with him. To me, spending time with Jared over Spring Break had been a way to gauge the quality of our relationship. All indications were positive.

When Gretchen and I flew back to Hillsdale to finish the semester, I found myself missing Jared almost immediately. Mind you, I knew this wasn't love. Lawsy no. That was still to come. However, I now missed Jared as much as I would any close friend and couldn't wait to call him.** That was certainly an advance in my feelings. :)

The semester rushed on. I completed that thesis. I got sick again. I finished class. I took my finals. I graduated!

Then I came home. The summer began.

*At some point in high school, I (along with my parents) had decided that there was no point in dating A) someone whom I couldn't see myself marrying or B) at a time when marriage was not an option. That took care of most of the guys I knew-- like I said, I had awesome friends but didn't want to marry them-- and covered most of college, because I had no interest in being married before graduation. And that was that.
**We started abandoning snail mail in favor of phone calls after Spring Break.

{images: First, just before I flew back to Hillsdale on Spring Break. Gee golly, I had long hair! Second, my graduation. Jared came out to Michigan with mi familia. Crazy kid.}

14 March 2011

51 Weeks [in which we keep the mailman busy]

A few days later Daddy sent Jared an email, the essence of which was, "Go to it right heartily."* I, meanwhile, was told that a real letter was en route to my mailbox. A real pen and paper letter. Snail mail, people . . . it's how we roll.

While I waited, I told a few close friends at school about this new adventure. (Thanks for sharing my excitement, girls. You know who you are!) I had never dated anyone, so it was foreign territory, but I was not nervous. I knew that we'd be walking this out with the help of many wise people, including our parents. It just seemed like the perfect timing. I couldn't wait to see what would transpire.

But his letter had to come first.

I checked my mailbox twice a day . . . a few of you can attest to this. Finally the blessed envelope arrived, and I retreated to a quiet corner of the student union. As I read, I was astonished to find out that Jared had been interested in me for so long. My faith for the courtship grew even more as he explained why he had chosen to pursue me now and described how he wanted our relationship to look-- purposeful, yes, but also guided by faith. I couldn't have asked for a sweeter or more thoughtful letter.

Jared suggested that we stick to letters until I came home on Spring Break (both snail mail and email). That was fine with me, since writing often requires more thought than talking. I wanted this first stage of the relationship to go slowly. Thus, we both stocked up on stamps and envelopes, and settled in for some old-fashioned correspondence.

I was an RA that year and spent many nights sitting desk.** Once my homework was done, or sometimes before, I would sit filling sheets of creamy paper with questions, stories, and the occasional illustration. Off the envelopes went to Lancaster, and back came the replies. With each new letter from Jared I grew more excited. I felt as if I had a permanent grin on my face; I couldn't believe that this wonderful young man had reached out to me, and was now putting up with all my silliness and sauciness. Jared made me laugh, encouraged me, and asked great questions. When I got horribly sick in February, it was good to know that he cared, although he couldn't be there.

It was a giddy, exhilarating time. I can't say that I worked very hard on my thesis.


*Those were his exact words. I believe he also quoted Roz from Monsters Inc: "I'm watching you, Wazowski. Always watching."
**Mostly making sure that boys were out of the dorm by midnight. We did indeed have visitation rules at our school.

{image: one of the classroom buildings at Hillsdale, on a typically snowy February day}

Standbys and novelties [birthday weekend edition]

I love a good celebration. It was my sweetheart's birthday on Friday, and if anything calls for celebration, that would be it. As is usual with us, food played a key role in the festivities. We had, in fact, two birthday dinners: on the day itself, Brant came over and we had man food . . . meaning meat cooked over a fire. (Though honestly, I like steak as much as they do.) Then on Sunday night, I fixed a rather more romantic meal, just for the two of us. Both were wonderful and both combined old and new.


First Friday. We ate grilled venison steak, creamed corn, banana chocolate chip muffins, and chocolate-dipped macaroons. Oh, and salad. My token greenery.

Out O' This World Creamed Corn
(adapted from Lisa's Kitchen)

2 tablespoons butter
6 cups frozen corn kernels, slightly thawed
2 1/4 cups half-and-half, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons raw or white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
lots of black pepper
2 heaping tablespoons flour
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1) Melt butter in heavy saucepan. Add corn, 1 1/2 cups half-and-half, sugar, salt, parsley, marjoram, and pepper. Stir well and bring to boil.
2) Whisk flour into remaining 3/4 cup half-and-half. When corn mixture comes to boil, stir in flour mixture. Lower heat to simmer and keep stirring until thickened. Let cook on low, covered, for 15 minutes.
3) Stir in grated Parmesan until melted. Serve hot.

Coconut Macaroons
(taken and tweaked from here)

2 2/3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cups white sugar
1/4 cup unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2) Stir together coconut, sugar, flour, and salt. Add egg whites and vanilla; stir to combine.
3) Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until slightly golden on top and firm to the touch. Let cool on wire rack. Dip in chocolate if you want (but they are wonderful plain).


Then Sunday. There were stuffed mushrooms, delicious spiced nuts, ravioli with marinara, creamed spinach, and lemon coconut bars.

Maple Spiced Pecans
(original from Seven Spoons)

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup maple syrup (grade B has the best flavor)
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 scant teaspoon dried thyme
1 scant teaspoon dried rosemary
1 scant teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pound pecan halves (walnuts would be good too)

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
2) In small saucepan melt together butter, syrup, and sugar. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients except pecans. Place pecans in medium bowl; pour syrup mixture over top, and stir to coat thoroughly.
3) Spread pecans out evenly on parchment-lined pan. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until glazed and shiny with a bit of snap. Cool completely, stirring occasionally, before storing in airtight container.

11 March 2011

Weekend links

A collection of interesting internet items.

-Someone else who loves breakfast!

-This guy designs sweet stuff. Check out this coffee table.

-Excellent article from Kevin DeYoung on doing good as God leads, not out of guilty comparison.

-Of the new music artists I've found lately, Audrey Assad is one of my favorites. She has a gorgeous voice and I love the lyrics. Uplifting to my soul.

-YES. Someone made a FLOATING HOUSE. Cue the Up theme music!!

-If you've never read Mark Twain on James Fenimore Cooper, please do. You're in for a big laugh.

-"Dude watchin' with the Brontes." Especially funny for Anglophile English majors . . . take my word for that one.

Standbys and novelties [pasta and noodles edition]

As I've mentioned before, I like to mix it up in the kitchen. One day dinner is a reliable standby like pizza or roast chicken. Another day it's something new and different. . . riskier, but also more fun.

These days, the "new" dishes come frequently from Asian cuisine. I did not eat much Asian food growing up, but have discovered that I like it a lot. In fact, while Jared and I were on our honeymoon in Charleston, the best restaurant we ate at was Basil, a Thai place. (That sentence was syntactically awkward. Oh well. I don't feel like revising it.) Around here, we've enjoyed trying different things at the Vietnamese restaurant Rice and Noodles. I think Sakura is next on our list.

At home, I have played around with a few cookbooks and visited a few websites, trying Thai, Indonesian, and Vietnamese dishes. It has resulted in some successes and some flops. (Sometimes we disagree on whether a recipe was a success or a flop. Individual tastes differ . . .) The other day I made a sesame soba salad that I loved. The husband did not approve, but that just means I got to eat it all for lunch the next day. Last night, on the other hand, I tried Vietnamese noodle bowls (from a cookbook, not the linked website, but the recipe is very similar). I used beef left over from a roast earlier in the week, and marinated it with some chicken broth, lemongrass, cilantro, and fish sauce. Along with the sliced beef we had shredded carrots, sliced green onions, sliced cucumbers, chopped cilantro, and of course nuoc cham. We both really liked it, so I can see a lot of rice noodles in our future.

So much for the novelties. Now for the standby: baked macaroni and cheese. This stuff is fantastic. You can put in anything you want, it's incredibly filling, and the leftovers reheat perfectly. Oh, and if you make a double recipe you can freeze half for later. I love freezer meals. (I love cooking too, but some days it is awfully nice to pull something out of the freezer!) Because you can riff on the recipe with whatever's in the fridge, it needn't get boring. I make it pretty often.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese
(originally from Smitten Kitchen, with my edits)

1/2 lb. smallish pasta (shells or rotini are good)
3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

3 cups whole milk

3 cups shredded cheese*

1 1/2 teaspoons salt
spices to taste**

2-3 cups "add-ins"***

plain or seasoned breadcrumbs

1) Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish or a 9x9 glass baking dish. Get a large pot of water boiling for your pasta.
2) If your "add-ins" need to be cook, start them first. Then you can let your sausage fry, spinach wilt, and mushrooms brown as you make the cheese sauce. (If the "add-ins" are done before everything else, that is fine. Just take them off the heat once they are fully cooked.)
3) Now, about that cheese sauce. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour and whisk well. Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook butter-flour mixture, whisking frequently, for several minutes. This is your roux, which will thicken the sauce.
4) Add milk to roux a little bit at a time, whisking briskly after each addition to avoid clumping. Keep adding the milk and whisking until it is all smoothly incorporated. Bring milk to a low boil, whisking occasionally. Turn heat down to low, add cheese, and stir until completely melted. Add salt and seasoning to taste. Let sauce simmer and thicken until your pasta is ready.
5) Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package directions. If I am putting broccoli into the macaroni and cheese, I add washed, chopped florets to the boiling pot 4 minutes before the pasta will be done. Then the broccoli can cook along with the pasta. No extra pan!
6) Drain pasta (and broccoli, if using) and shake dry. Return to large pot; pour in cheese sauce and your prepared "add-ins," and stir to combine completely. Pour into prepared dish and sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.
7) At this point you can cover the macaroni and cheese with foil and bake immediately: 35-40 minutes will get it bubbling and golden. Let it sit a few minutes, then serve. If you prefer, however, cover and refrigerate the dish until dinnertime. A chilled dish will take longer to heat through, more like 45-50 minutes. But this is a great meal to make ahead.

*Half mild and half sharp is a good rule of thumb. Cheddar, Parmesan, monterey jack, pepper jack, farmer's, and mozzarella have all found their way into my macaroni and cheese at some point. It's all good.
**Black pepper, cayenne, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic powder, etc.
***Have fun here. Sausage, tuna, roast chicken; onions, shallots, mushrooms; red peppers, spinach, broccoli. I almost always add onion and some sort of vegetable.

{image credit: Tony DeFilippo on Flickr}

10 March 2011

He goes on walking

The child of the light is sometimes found walking in darkness but he goes on walking. He does not sit down and commiserate with himself—that is the thing—the child of light walking in darkness. He does not see the face of the Lord at this point, but he knows that He is there; so he goes on.

-D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression

{image credit: yoshiko314 on Flickr}

09 March 2011

Full of mercy and good fruits

LinkFor where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

-James 3:16-18

{image credit: terberman on Flickr}

07 March 2011

From the tags of tea

I like to drink tea. Everyone knows that. There's a nice little collection going in the corner cupboard. Sometimes, depending on what I want, I choose Yogi brand; for example, they have a great ginger tea that is nice for a wobbly stomach.

Anyway, Yogi tea bags always have bits of wisdom on their tags. Except . . . they're usually not that wise.

Today's example: "Live in your strength."


Oh dear. As if I didn't try to do that enough already, and fail miserably every stinkin' time. No thanks. Sorry, tea bag, but there are the words I'll be living by.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm."

-Ephesians 6:10-13

Let him ask God

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

-James 1:2-6

{image credit: fdiazh on Flickr}

05 March 2011

Weekend links

A hodgpodge of stuff I found on the internet.

If Walt Whitman had written our national anthem.
This is why I love Wondermark. "CALL GOVERNMENT."
What can distress or terrify us? God gives strength in weakness.
Firefox has real foxes! Even better-- they're BABY foxes!
I want one of Leonid Afremov's paintings.
Or one of these awesome prints.
If you have epsom salts and olive oil, you can make this scrub.
Rudyard Kipling writes a story about British soldiers and their love of Jane Austen.
How to battle anxiety with God's promises.

51 Weeks [in which everyone is surprised]

One week before ye olde relationship began.
 Before we start on those fifty-one "official" weeks, you will need a little backstory.

Jared and I grew up in the same church, it's true. But I barely even remember him before high school, when we were on the youth group worship team together. Apart from that, he barely figures at all in my memories, and it's about the same for him. No friendship, let alone romance, as I was a spacey introvert and he was girl-o-phobic. (I'm still pretty spacey but I lost most of the introversion at college. Also: he is no longer scared of girls. Note that he has one living in his house.)

So we went our separate ways, pursuing various interests, making our own friends. Jared went to Millersville University here in Lancaster to study business; I packed off to Hillsdale, Michigan, as an English major. We saw each other sporadically on break.

That was it.

But in the spring of 2008, when Jared and I were both juniors in college, something happened. He went to study abroad in Germany, and the scene was set for . . .

Surprise Number One. For no apparent reason (we still can't figure it out), Jared found himself thinking about me. Note that we hadn't talked, emailed or otherwise communicated for months! I remember having a brief conversation on Christmas Eve, and I left a few comments on the blog he kept while in Germany, but then, so did a lot of other people. So there had been zero noteworthy correspondence between us. Yet there I was in his head, and apparently, I wouldn't go away.

Being the prudent man he is, Jared mulled over this newfound interest all semester (while in Germany), then all summer (while we were both back in Lancaster), then all fall (when, still oblivious, I had gone back to Hillsdale). He wasn't sure whether he should keep it under his hat, or bite the bullet and ask me out. He talked to a few friends, including his dad and our small group leaders at church, and he prayed. A lot. He did know that he liked several things about me-- and I'm sure I don't know what they were, for I am loud and weird and emotional, all the things he isn't-- but anyway! There I was, and there he was, and he had to do something about it.

He did.

Surprise Number Two. This one was for my dad. Until Jared sat down with him on January 9, 2009, and asked for permission to date me, poor Daddy had been clueless about this boy's interest in his eldest daughter. His response?

"Hmm. Interesting."

I'm not sure that was the most reassuring thing Jared had ever heard. However, for a father who has just been accosted by a 22-year-old college kid asking to date and possibly marry his little girl, I think it's pretty good.

Surprise Number Three. This one, of course, was for me. Let me backtrack here so you can appreciate the shock . . . and the providence.

In the spring of 2008, at exactly the time Jared was starting to feel an interest in me, I had a strong sense that I was "ready" to get married. Before that, I could not have honestly said that I had the maturity, understanding, or even the desire required for marriage, but suddenly I could. Of course, I was not dating anyone and saw no real possibilities around me, either at college or at home. Male friends I had in plenty, but potential boyfriends? No. So I waited.

Now if you'd asked me what I was looking for in a husband, I would have said quite a few things. Among them would be: likes to dance, not quiet, lots of siblings, went to a liberal arts college like me. (If you know my husband at all, you should be laughing.) Also, I'm quite certain that at some point I thought these exact words: "I would never marry Jared. He is very nice. But he is too quiet. It would be boring."


As I was saying, I waited. Not always patiently, but God did give me a lot of grace in that area, and by fall 2008 I found myself thoroughly content with singleness. I was enjoying my friendships with various young men at school, cheerfully acknowledging that I didn't want to date any of them and never would. (I just fed them instead.) In fact, through those friendships I learned a lot about encouragement, respect, and how to follow good leadership-- without the distraction of romance. It was pretty swell. When I bothered to think about the future, I had confidence that God would send me a husband in His timing, without any help from me. I still felt "ready" for marriage, but I'd be graduating in a little while, then going home to Lancaster; who knew what would happen after that?

Christmas Break came and went. I caught up with friends, attended a young adults' retreat at church, hung out with my family. Then I flew back to Hillsdale for my final semester. I thought I knew exactly what spring 2009 would look like: I was going to write my thesis and concentrate completely on my life at Hillsdale. There would be plenty of time to think about Lancaster after graduation.

Then my dad called me.

My dad never called me.

I knew something big was going on.

Dad: "Hi honey."
Me: "Umm. Hi?"
Dad: "Your mom is on the phone too."
Me: "Crap. What did I do this time?"
Dad: ::laughs:: "Nothing!"
Me: "So what's going on?"
Dad: "Well." ::awkward silence:: "I had breakfast with Jared Randolph this morning."

At that moment every thought I had about unpacking, meeting up with college friends, and buying textbooks flew out of my head. Jared? He was talking to my dad? Oh my God. This means . . .

Dad: "He's interested in dating you."
Me: "O-kay."

I think Daddy said a few more things, but I wasn't listening. The weirdest thing had happened to me: I had faith. All the faith in the world for this crazy, unexpected, unfamiliar venture. I couldn't explain why, but it's as if God gave me complete peace about it, just when I could have freaked out or gone into convulsions of indecision. Daddy told me to call him back the next day, but before he'd even hung up I knew what I would say. "Yes! Why not?"

People are usually skeptical when I tell them that. Really? I said "Yes, why not?" After lacking any interest whatsoever in this boy, I agreed to date him, just like that? But it's the honest truth. I felt that God had been preparing me for dating and marriage all spring, summer, and fall. I had absolutely no reason to say no, except for being afraid . . . and seriously? That would be lame. On the other hand, I had several excellent reasons to say yes: I deeply respected Jared, and I thought he was smart, interesting, and funny (we had talked several times the previous summer and over Christmas Break, and my opinion of him had changed a bit).

Besides, he was pretty cute.

When I tried to apply Scripture to the situation, the only verse that came to mind was, "If anything is not done from faith, it is sin." Well. If I said no it would be from fear, not from faith. So that settled it.

I called Daddy back. I said yes.

{This is at the young adults' retreat one week before Jared asked my dad for permission to date me.}

03 March 2011

Let them eat cake. And lentils.

This is the best chocolate layer cake in the world. The end.

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

(originally from my mom, but I changed it a bit)

1 3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup strong coffee
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

1) Preheat oven to 350. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans, a 9x13 pan, or 24 cupcake liners. (I never flour my cake pans. Just nonstick spray.)

2) In large bowl or the bowl of your mixer, stir together dry ingredients. Make sure there are no streaks.

3) Pour in wet ingredients and beat on low to combine, then for five minutes on high speed (no, silly, not as high as you would use for whipped cream). This batter is on the thin side so be careful about splashing.

4) Pour batter into prepared pan/s. Lick the spatula. (That part is very important. Really.) Bake for 30-40 minutes, until firm but moist in the middle. You don't want sticky crumbs on your finger if you touch it, but you don't want it to get hard, or anywhere in the vicinity of hard for that matter. This is a moist cake. A deep, dark, rich cake. Not a light and airy sponge cake.

5) Remove to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes. Shoo away all the people who will flock to the kitchen, drawn by the heady chocolate aroma. After 10 minutes, if making a layer cake, remove from pans and let cool completely before frosting. (I run a knife around the edge and invert the cake onto the rack, then flip it again to finish cooling, but that usually involves a plate or two because I need the other rack for the other cake. It is a long and rather annoying process. Someone needs to invent a cake flipping rack.)

6) Do what you will with your cooled cake. Frost and stack, pipe on icing, dust it with powdered sugar. Then try not to eat the entire thing.

To balance out such richness, I offer you sprouted lentils. This is a method, really, not a recipe.

Sprouted Lentils
(thank you Kitchen Stewardship)

Grab yourself some dried lentils-- I use green ones just because-- and a nice big glass jar. You will also need a rubber band, a bowl, and some mesh or tulle; the plastic netting from orange bags works most excellently.

So. Measure out as many lentils as float your proverbial boat, keeping in mind that they are going to quadruple in volume. I think I usually do a scant 1/4 cup, as I'm the only person who eats them around here (lentils being on the forbidden food list). Pour them into the jar, cover them with warm water, shake it around a bit, and drain out the excess water. Then cover them with warm water again, with the water level at least twice that of the lentils. Put the lid on loosely and let stand 12 to 24 hours. The lentils will soak up lots of water and therefore expand.

After this soaking period, drain any excess water remaining. Cover the lentils with more water. Now this is where your tulle or orange netting comes in. Stretch it over the open mouth of the jar and secure with a rubber band. Tip the jar upside down so the water can drain, and leave it in a bowl for 12 hours. Repeat the rinse-and-drain cycle until the lentils have sprouted. This should only take a day or two. They get little tails, which is rather cute, and become crisp-tender. Delicious if you like lentils, not so much if you don't. (Don't say I didn't warn you.)

Thus far I've just tossed them with salads for lunch, usually with cheese and a good balsamic dressing. You can steam them too but I haven't gotten around to that. I would like to sprout alfalfa and other seeds too but haven't gotten around to that either . . .

{image: from Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. I remember it being on the TV one night as I was on RA duty in the lobby, and so I caught about a quarter of it. "Nice costumes and lots of froth" was my impression.}

That we may share His holiness

"Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted . . .

"It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.

"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed."

-Hebrews 12:1-11

{image credit: Thomas Hawk on flickr}