Thursday, January 28, 2010

Irish Brown Bread for St. Brigid

After gaining some inspiration from Mary, who pointed me to Jane's blog about St. Brigid, I decided to pull out a recipe we've liked in the past. We've adapted it from Inn Time for Breakfast... Again.

2 cups of whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground, which is rather rustic)
1 cup of flour
1 cup of oatmeal
1 TBS baking soda
1 egg
2 TBS of vinegar plus enough milk to make 2&1/2 cups of "sour milk"

1. Combine dry ingredients.
2. Add egg and buttermilk, which the owners of the Will O'Glenn Irish Bed and Breakfast tell me makes the dough soft
3. Scrape dough into greased pie pan. (The original recipe called for shaping into a round loaf, but my dough is always too wet for forming it.)
4. Bake 400 degrees fro 20 minutes. Cut a cross into the top of the loaf.
5. Reduce heat to 200 and bake for another 30 minutes.

You're supposed to cut the cross before putting it in the oven, but my dough is too soft at that point to hold the cross lines, so we do it when we change temperatures.

Results - yummy whole grain goodness, especially with corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes.

Also yummy with jam and cheese for breakfast.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Job Interview and Sighs

60 people applied for that 1 job. Basically, the interviewer suggested my husand apply some other places.

"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding.
In all of your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

Book of Psalms

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Job Interviews and Giggles

My husband has been searching for employment and today, at the table, I was asking him about an upcoming interview (Monday if you would like to pray), wondering if the work schedule at the local state university hospital would allow him to get off for Pascha.

Upon hearing the name of the university, Little Builder asked him,

"So what job are you interviewing for, Papa? Football player?"

(actually, Social Worker)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gifts from God

* your prayers, through which God granted us a calm weekend of debate tournament and travel with no problems.

* the Prayers of the Optima Elders, which gave me inspiration for my "wishes for my students" in my pep talk to them Saturday morning: that they may have strength to endure the fatigue of the day and face all that they meet with peace. The two-day tournaments are very grueling for the students, and I truly prayed this for them.

* encouraging words from Mairs for my classroom:
The best teacher you can be to *all* your students is the teacher who engages her students, makes them think, fosters a positive classroom environment for everyone, teaches compassion in your demeanor and approach to all your students, even the ones you don't understand or know how to help academically.

* a fun morning of "Holiday Homeschooling" with the cousins, since public schools are out for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We said prayers, wrote spelling words, did a little science, making cinnamon cream to top our hot cocoa.

* earnest voice of the two year old from the back seat, singing "God, gwant you many ears!" (she means years, just has trouble with the pronunciation)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Heading out of Town...

...and bringing 26 high school students!

Prayers would be appreciated as I take the Debate Team on a tournament. We'll leave after school today on the big yellow bus.

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Carrot Souffle

revisiting a treat from last January...

The night you make it, it's dessert.
The next morning, it's breakfast bars.

I first enjoyed this recipe when eating with my grandparents. The menu included: black-eyed peas with sausage over rice, pineapple-cabbage coleslaw, and carrot souffle.

I'll give you the original recipe, but mention these changes I made:

-used only half the sugar
-used oil instead of butter (I've got a non-dairy girl)

The Ingredients
2 cups of cooked sliced carrots (or you could use 1 can of carrots, drained)
3 TBS butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp flour
1 tsp vanilla

The Steps
1. Place everything in a blender
2. Blend until smooth
3. Bake in a greased casserole dish at 350 for 45 minutes

FYI - I usually plan to make this the night after I make carrots as a side dish. I make extra, so I have them on hand.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Gifts from God: Encouragement

On Saturday morning during our prayers of the Third Hour (thank you, Mary), when Little Builder read the troparion for the departed, I had to ask him to stop and read it again. How could I have missed it before?

O Thou Who by the depth of Thy wisdom, out of love for mankind, dost provide all things, and grantest to all that which is profitable...

I have been struggling with trusting God with some areas dear to my heart, and He has been so graciously reminding me of His Love and that He will provide all we need.

Thank you, O Lord, for giving me the gift of encouragement.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Book Review and Lessons: The Woman and the Wheat

In the weeks before Christmas, it was very common to hear the gentle roar of the UPS or FedEx truck zooming up the driveway and around to the back of the house.

One white padded parcel carried a surprise: a book we didn't have to wrap or wait to read. The Woman and the Wheat by Jane G. Meyer! I am grateful for the opportunity to review another of her books.

The Woman and the Wheat is a follow-up to The Man and the Vine, both tracing the elements that will make up the Eucharist, along with the people who nurture them. I encourage you to read the story behind the story, and you might want to listen to the audio recording of the Man and the Vine.

This review will be divided into 2 sections: The Illustrations, and The Rhythm.

The Illustrations
Ned Gannon's vision of the woman is warm and strong. I can't help but veer from the review here: And she lives in my dream home. Oh, to have that wood-burning oven! Oh, to have those huge skylights! To be a farmer and a baker!

In an interview with the illustrator, Gannon shares that his favorite image is the one of the woman in the wheat field, because it envelops many childhood memories in Kansas. He paints with a sense of authenticity, which richly portrays Meyer's story.

Let's get to that story.

The Rhythm

My high school students and I happened to be reviewing metrical feet before the Christmas break. We were learning how to scan a poem, which you can learn about with this nice Powerpoint presentation (not mine) and see more examples of words marked up here.

As I was standing in the front of the gray classroom, clapping my hands and inflecting my voice to emphasize the stressed and unstressed syllables of a word, Jane G. Meyers' words started playing across my brain.

The "a ha!" moment cleared up for me why her writing seems so poetic even though it doesn't rhyme - she uses metrical rhythm. I wonder if she mathematically plans it that way - substituting this word for another that fits the meter - or if the words just come to her head already packaged in a rhythm? (Jane - are you reading? Can you comment?)

If you teach middle or high school students, I don't know why you wouldn't watch that slide presentation (or do your own research), define and learn the different types of feet, and then scan The Woman and the Wheat as an exercise in analyzing literature.

Well, I can think of one reason why. You might rather read it for enjoyment or for theology. The lyrical words portray the most awesome truth about our Lord Jesus Christ. My favorite lines are not my favorite for the meter, but for the meaning: they describe the woman as she approaches the chalice:

She opened wide and the love filled her mouth and she thought of the wheat and she thought of the love. She kissed the cup and she prayed a prayer, and the joy grew loud in her soul.

Love filled her mouth.

A few weeks ago my priest encouraged me, "if God loves us, then there is no reason to feel despondent."

That LOVE is something I often seem to overlook. I get too caught up in all the things that must be done, or in the details of following our Faith, and I pridefully try to accomplish everything myself, which is bad theology. I can do nothing without Christ.

Then, blinded to the truth, I begin to believe that God is not going to take care of things and meanwhile it becomes increasingly clear that I certainly fail at taking care of everything. Despondency. Unnecessary despondency. Unnecessary because God does love us. If the Invincible One - who has all power over all things and can do not only the impossible, but also the mundane - if He who has the power to do loves us, then all that is needed will be done.

Our most loving God offers us a rhythm to receive His love. The rhythm of the feasts and fasts, of names-days, of Gospel readings and hymns carrying us through each year. The rhythm of morning and evening prayers and the prayers of the Hours. Moments of stressed importance to draw us back to Him when we would get too wrapped up in the unimportant.

The rhythm of Communion. Each time we approach the blessed sacrament of Communion, we mystically share intimacy with Christ who is Love.

Love filled her mouth.

Thank you, Jane G. Meyer, for two lovely books that are joyful children books, that trace the life cycle of nature and connect it to man's co-work with God, and that remind me of the Love of our Lord Jesus Christ.