Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Magic Gopher

This is really creepy at first, but it does have a logical answer. Maybe I'll reveal it in a comment when everybody's had time to see it!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Today I'm Thankful for the Sun!

After a couple weeks of cold, drizzly, gray, dark, depressing, bone-chilling weather (not that I'm complaining, you see), I'm very glad to see the sun today.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

BibleMap.Org

Here's a fun website where you can look at satellite maps of different places in the Bible. Hint: the book of Acts has lots of places.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Wedding Music

I had the opportunity to play the piano for a friend's wedding last Saturday. It went very well, and was a nice wedding. I found that there's much more to playing for a wedding than just learning the music, though. The hardest part was getting the timing right. There were different songs for different parts of the processional, so I had to figure out where to stop so that it sounded good but everybody wasn't sitting there waiting for the song to be over. I had to watch and see how fast everyone was walking in hopes of getting to a good stopping place at the right time. Whew! I guess it was okay, though, because I got postive feedback afterward. Yay!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Why Do We Do Spiritual Things?

I was thinking about this today after reading the passage about fasting in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6. Jesus was giving a rebuke to those who did things to their appearance to make it obvious that they were fasting. They were doing it for the praise of men instead of making it something just between them and God.

I think the spiritual things we do (praying, fasting, reading the Bible, going to church) are sometimes done for the wrong reasons. Maybe we're trying to impress other believers, make ourselves feel good, or appear righteous to the world. Honestly, when you lead a prayer in a Bible study, how similar is it to the prayers you say by yourself, in your head, with no one there but you and God? And isn't it satisfying to get the chance to tell someone how much you read the Bible every day?

These spiritual actions are supposed to be forms of worshipping God. They are important elements of our relationship with him, but must be done with the right attitude. If we start showing off, we demonstrate being wrapped up in ourselves.

The other side of this is that we should never hide our faith. It should be obvious to everyone that we are believers in Christ, but we should think of ourselves as reflections of HIM. We sin when we parade ourselves about as superior specimens of righteousness. The point is that GOD should get the glory.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Icicles

We had an exciting novelty this morning: something outside actually froze! The temperature was right at freezing, and we'd had drizzly rain, so there were little tiny icicles all over the plants. You can sort of see a few in this picture taken from my bedroom window. They were very pretty and delicate-looking, not quite like the 3-foot icicles we sometimes had on our house on Wyoming. We used to break those off and use them for swords.

Forays into a Venerable Art

This past weekend, we did some candlemaking. We made three candles. The purple one on the left was made by filling the mold with crushed ice and then pouring the wax in. The pink one in the middle was dipped, and then when it got too heavy and started sliding down the wick, it was set in a can and sort of drooped into the bell shape. It has character! The brown one on the right was made from white wax with cinnamon mixed in. The cinnamon sank to the bottom, which produced the graduated color. It smells like cinnamon, but the smell doesn't increase when it's burning. Here's a shot of the purple one which shows the light shining through the holes.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.


What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.

--Quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr, 1929 - 1968

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Modesty Survey

The Rebelution, a blog written by Alex and Bret Harris, just launched a "modesty survey." It features questions submitted by girls about a whole range of modesty topics. It is set up for guys to then answer those questions. It's a very interesting idea, and I look forward to seeing the results.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Serious Upstaging

If this isn't proof that laughter is contagious, at least some kinds of laughter, then I don't know what is!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Happy New Year!

We celebrated the arrival of 2007 with sparklers and fire crackers Monday night. Here's Laura.
Seth. Aren't long exposures fun? This one is John.
Becca.
Most of us sat on the porch...
...while Seth shot off the crackers. Watching him was at least as much fun as doing the fire crackers!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

New Year, New Profile Photo...

...and updated blog template with fun new post title layout!

Homemade Croissants

I have it from a reliable source that my friend Beka wants my croissant recipe. I decided to post it here in case anyone else is having a cooking inspiration, too. There's no magical way around it, they are a lot of work! But, if you have extra time on your hands or want to impress somebody, they are fun, and SO tasty! Let me know how they turn out, if you try it, Beka. :-)

Wheat Croissants

2 T. butter, softened
¼ c. honey
3 c. lukewarm water
4 t. instant yeast
3 c. whole wheat flour
4 c. all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
2 t. salt
3 sticks cold butter (1 ½ cups)

Combine the 2 T. softened butter with the honey in a large bowl. Stir in the water and yeast. The mixture doesn’t have to be evenly mixed. Add the flours and salt, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead for 15 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, springy, and no longer sticky. Add additional all-purpose flour as needed. Return the dough to the bowl, cover, and leave to rise until doubled in size, about one hour.

Punch down the dough and place it on a floured surface. Roll it out to a large rectangle about a 1/2-inch thick. The rectangle should be about 12 inches wide, and however long it needs to be to achieve the right thickness. Slice the cold sticks of butter about an 1/8-inch thick. Lay the butter slices on the dough right next to each other to cover two-thirds of the dough. Fold the dough in thirds by bringing the unbuttered third over to the middle, then folding again so you have alternating layers of dough and butter. Roll the dough out again to the same sized rectangle, then fold in thirds again. Place on a tray, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for one hour.

Repeat the process of rolling, folding in thirds, and chilling three more times. After the final folding, chill the dough overnight. In the morning, cut the dough in half to make two squares. Place one square on a floured surface and roll it out into a large circle, about a 1/4-inch thick. With a sharp knife or a pizza wheel, cut the circle into 12 wedges. Starting at the wide end of each piece, roll the dough up tightly, stretching it slightly as you go. Bend the points towards each other to form a crescent shape. Place the croissants on an un-greased cookie sheet about an inch apart. Make sure the end of the dough is facing down so the croissants don’t unroll as they rise. Repeat with the remaining square of dough. Cover the pans and let the croissants rise for about an hour. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes two dozen.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year!!

I rang in the new year with my folk dancing group. This picture is not a very accurate representation of the time since I actually spent almost all of the evening dancing, but it's hard to get good pictures while dancing!