Monday, December 31, 2007

Year-End Review in Pictures:

7-7 Now, straight to the Word. Before let's just give a little word of thanks to the Lord Jesus.
Our heavenly Father, we're just so grateful today for the--for You down here in this modern age, in the age of automobiles, airplanes, jets, the rockets, and--and all kind of science: telephone, television, and a modern atomic weapons, and so forth. You are still the supreme, almighty, omnipotent, omniscient God that created the heavens and earth and patterned out the sky. God, we can't explain it. We can't explain it. Neither can we explain why the sky doesn't have an end, how the world can revolve around, and so perfect till twenty years before, they can tell when the eclipse of the sun is coming; because Your machinery works exact. We can't produce a piece of machinery to be that exact. Oh, but great Jehovah, Who holds this earth here in space, it's perfect. And we love You, and all Your doings are just and right.
And we submit ourselves to Thee this morning, the beginning of this new year, and ask that You fill us all with the Holy Spirit, Lord, and draw us close to Thee; and may Thy everlasting arms be around us and hold us, Lord, for the days are shaking and dark, but the Morning Star is leading the way. We shall follow, Lord. Where He leads me, I will follow. If it be some through the waters, some through the flood, some through deep trials, but all through the Blood.

8-1 O God, lead us by Thy everlasting hand until the victory finally is won, and Jesus returns to the earth. Sin, sickness, and sorrow will be ended, and we'll live this glorious millennium with Thee. We're longing for that great day. Come, Lord Jesus, to Thy Word today. Get into It. Circumcise the lips that speak, and the hearts that hear. And may the seed fall into the heart where the Holy Spirit will sow it, and bring forth a hundredfold. We ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.

May God richly bless you all.

Posted via web from marielenora's posterous

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Thanksgiving pros and cons...

The Pro's:

  • Ziplock's XL bags for the brine
  • 1 hour of brine time per one pound of turkey (at least!)
  • Recipe for Cider-Brined Turkey

    (Other than the hair which is sticking up in all directions from a morning of cooking--'ya see what I mean?)
Anduille Dressing--and Cidery Gibblet Pan Gravy-- (yum...)
It's all about the butter... LOL!
(and I'm sorry about any inane advertisements before the video)
No Black Friday shopping
Family filling the house
The Lord's blessings.

The Con's:

Did we really have to do two Thanksgivings on Thursday?
I didn't get to try out a recipe or two for Saturday because we had so much left over from Thursday...
Getting up at 5 for the turkey.
The NY Times turkey-cutting techniques that I didn't get to try. (sigh.)
Someone did it for me while I forgot to put the yeast in the rolls.
(That hasn't happened to me since I first started baking WhlWht Bread.)
I'm really good at making a mess in the kitchen.

I hope everyone had a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Visual DNA...

This is more of a "xangan" thing to do, but...

My personal DNA report

I didn't realize this until later, but if you mouse over each color, you can see what it means.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Crossing the Bar

Please pray for the Carver family, and the Tabernacle of the Lord church family. Bro. Gerald Carver passed away yesterday. He'd been sickly for a while, but it was a shock for us. It's hard to lose a man of his caliber.

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

God Bless

Saturday, October 20, 2007

One Year Ago...

... I baked freshly-ground whole-wheat bread for the first time.

What a difference a year makes:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Praise Jesus for the Truth

Today's a teacher work day for my district, one we get in an effort for teachers to see more of what our students are expected to do once in the real world. So early this morning I headed to the local United Way. It was eye-opening to say the least. In my beautiful part of the world, seventeen percent of the population, ages 17-60, are illiterate. My county has the highest percentage of domestic violence per person in the US (it's first in child abuse and second in spousal abuse). It made my heart bleed for my students, both from last year and this year. And it also made me view the question of exactly why I am at the most urban middle school in my county a bit differently. Now I'm beginning to ask myself why not--why should students who have such desperate home situations, such pain in their lives, such needs, why should I not share with those in society that need it the worst? And yet, those are the ones that I seemed to fail last year.

Yesterday, as a part of my inservice/work time, I went over with my principle my gains and losses on my state's high-stakes test. And while I gained with my upper-level students (by a significant margin), I feel like I failed with the others. The ones that needed it the most. The ones that need the education the worst. The ones that have trouble in school because of problems at home or because they're hungry. Or because they don't know where they're going to sleep that night. I failed those children. And all I can do is ask the Lord--and them--for forgiveness, and try my best to do better this year. I think I've been beginning to try to remedy this--though I don't know how well I'm doing yet this year. What I have been doing so far is this--I've been trying my best to make a connection with the students I have, knowing that if I develop a good, solid relationship with my students, they will want to perform and work for me. And I'm hoping--praying--that this will help my students this year on THE TEST. Though the test has never been my goal. My goal is to show Christ to my students and teach them something they can use to help them in life. It always has been, and always will be.

I've been spending way too much time on YouTube lately, and I've found and watched some videos of Brother Branham. (I wasn't wasting my time then... ) Parts of "Deep Calleth to the Deep" are online, as well as a Chicago prayer line that is truly powerful. And there's a video of Bro. Branham's voice, describing the crucifiction of Christ, with the images from The Passion of Christ. While it's a powerful video, I can't stand the way Mary enters into the movie, stealing the credit and glory from Christ. And for that reason, I've never watched The Passion all the way through--perhaps not a justifiable reason to some, but I'd rather not.

The Maryolitry of it--that's what gets me. My absolute favorite homeschooling blog (this one) is from a Catholic mom. I love what she has to say on homeschooling and "mom-ing" in general. I was poking around her site because of her sewing post, and ran across this blog. I was a bit put-off by her profile--much the way I can see some others being offended by mine--but I decided to read her post anyway. I read on, until I got to this:

I know what it means to live on a rock. The rock of my faith --
the Catholic Church ...

And this, I thought, is what the Catholich Church creates: pagan worship of a church instead of Jesus Christ; dependence on a system and a novena to Mary instead of a direct advocate to the Father; a wafer of bread, digested and expelled, instead of the gift of the Holy Ghost, living and breathing inside of you? I can't help but think how decieved, how utterly pagan, and how deceiving--as they still claim the name of Jesus Christ. And I think back to Bro. Branham, pounding away at the systems and denominations, declaring that Jesus Christ is that rock. That revelation that I need, and that others need.

Too often, I've been slow to share the truth with those around me. I've been reluctant, asking myself what they'd think if they knew--if they knew I believed in following a man. But the more I see of this sad world, the more I'm convinced that it matters not a whit what people think. This world is so full of people following the wrong men, why should it matter if I follow the right one--the one who displayed Jesus Christ in this hour? Despite this world's crazy ideals that make the truth sound insane, I want to be a witness. Wherever I'm supposed to, I want to witness. Lord, help me to witness. Because I've been so blessed to know the truth--it found me.

2 Lord Jesus, Thou the--the Fountain, inexhaustible Fountain of Life, flow through us today, Lord, and cleanse us from all unbelief and all sin, that we might stand in Thy Presence now, knowing that there is need among us, that we know that we are sinners and not--not worthy of any blessing. But then when we think of Him Who came and took our sins! Then, when His Blood is there, it's not--it's not us in the Presence of God, it's Him. It's just our voice through His Blood. His Blood is speaking. O God, then cleanse our hearts from sin and unbelief.
3 Give to us the desires of our heart, for we truly have these desires to serve You. In these weakening conditions and afflictions, and things of the world that's put upon us sometime, to perfect us; we've been told that. Then He said, "Think it not strange that these trials come." They're only working out for our good and to perfect us, and bring us into that place. These great deserts of experience, where righteous man are molded into saints, we--we thank Thee for these experiences, Lord. We would no mean, no wise want to do anything contrary to Your will. But we pray, Father, that in this we'll be brought closer to You.
4 And when the burdens are so heavy we can't go no farther, then we raise our hands and scream to our Father. Then hear from Heaven, Lord.
Heal us, make us well, for the Kingdom of God's sake.
Bless Thy Word this morning, Lord. Thy Word is the Truth.

God Bless.

Friday, October 12, 2007

For all of you...

Who helped me celebrate today, thank you.

It's been a lovely day.

Posted via web from marielenora's posterous

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's been a while.

And that's putting it euphemistically.

First, school started.

Then, my home internet went out at lightning speed. Literally.

Sooo.... I don't know how much I actually have to say, but here I am!

First: A personality check, thanks to Sharon:

You Are a Green Crayon

Your world is colored in harmonious, peaceful, natural colors.
While some may associate green with money, you are one of the least materialistic people around.
Comfort is important to you. You like to feel as relaxed as possible - and you try to make others feel at ease.
You're very happy with who you are, and it certainly shows!

Your color wheel opposite is red. Every time you feel grounded, a red person does their best to shake you.

Hmmm... I don't know if I'm that mellow--lol-- but I guess it fits me as well as any.

You can check out your own color here.

And now, for a couple of links:

  • The first is scary. Prisons are now editing the religious materials they have in their libraries... and I fear it may only reflect mainstream secular christianity. Here's the article from the NYT--I pray this doesn't affect VOG's prison ministries.

  • The second just recounts something we've known all along, and I hope I don't offend too many by posting this. Here 'tis: an article from yahoo finance about why women should stay home. And if you follow one of the links in the article, you can see an even more telling--and funny--article, which is even more to-the-point. You can also follow that article to to see the original oppinion piece, which is paired with a feminist rebuttal.

  • I'm gonna show my English-Teacher Self on this one: While most people realize that Pavarotti died this week, I don't know how many realize that the YA Literature writer, Madeline L'Engle, also passed away last Thursday.

  • And, of course, I've got to be a bit of a health nut too. So, here's an article, where a man's microwave popcorn habit was linked to illness. And, just for good measure, here's a link, all about raw milk. To counteract all that horrible popcorn, at least you can drink some of the good stuff!

  • But we can't be too healthy--oh no. Here's a link to Pampered Chef recipes, for your perusing.

So far, it's been such a blessed year, this third year of teaching. And when I think back to the uncertainty and difficulty of last year, I know that I made the right decision to simply let go and let God have the situations where I struggled. And that is what I aim to do this year. Go to the rock when I'm in over my head, and show Christ to my students. And, thanks to VOG's YF wallpapers, I'm able to subtly expose my students to the supernatural--the background of my school computer is the photograph of Sunset Mountain.

I'm so blessed.

God bless y'all!

Posted via web from marielenora's posterous

Oh Dear!

I almost forgot!

Happy 27th Birthday to my awesome, nutty, crunchy, wonderful and talented sister, Sharon!

Love ya lots, sista' love.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Goodbye old Paint...

Nope, I've not been out west.

I've been repainting my room.

(Where is Cheyenne, anyway?)

So, here's what it looked like before, with an empty room:

I really meant to take a picture before I got most of my stuff back in the room, but I didn't manage to. So, here's what it looked like this evening, in the dying light.

I should have taken a morning pic, but unfortunately, my mornings are currently absorbed with back to school business. We start next Thursday.

... I'd rather be in the palm of Your hand... Though rich or poor I may be; Faith can see right through the circumstance, Sees the forest in spite of the trees-- Your Grace provides for me.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Various and Sundry Things...

  • Sharon visited for a bit this week. It was a great time to reinforce my "favorite aunt status" with Renee and Lucas--Lol! Isaac and Samuel came for a day, and had lots of cousinly fun at grandmama's house...

    Grandmama's placemats become guitars...

    Sweet Lukie.

    Thanks to Sharon for the photos.

  • While Sharon was here, I discovered a source for local, organic, free-range eggs! It was by complete happenstance that we ran into "the egg lady" at a produce stand. (The yolks on these eggs are almost a burnt orange color. It's amazing.) She also grinds and bakes freshly ground whole-wheat bread, and gave me a tip for local, organic, soft red wheat! $17 for 50 pounds! Whew! What a windfall!

  • I tried my hand at making butter, after an article in the NYTimes (So sorry--I was able to access it a week ago without Times select!) and pictorial directions from this blog. I was about to toss some "over-ripe", already separated, pasteurized whipping cream when I remembered these links--and tried my hand with a Mason jar and a lot of shakin' action. I think I could have shaken it longer-- I later found out through my good friend Susannah that she'd seen it made with a marble in the jar, to help agitate the cream and solidify the butter. But judging from the flavor, it's definitely worth the work. The butter has a rich, creamy flavor, and a spreadable consistency that you just don't get from the store. And-- well-- it's mostly gone. And my family isn't the sort to put butter on everything, either! So--right now, my lovely, creamy raw milk is in an iced tea jar, so that the cream's rising to the top. And, depending on when I decide to make it again--I'll either skim off the cream with a ladle, and make sure I've got mostly only cream with a gravy separator, let it sit overnight for flavor-- and then try it again. Though, Sharon might beat me to it, as soon as she gets her iced tea jar!

  • I'm also starting into a Kambucha Tea experiment again. We'll see how that goes.

  • I'm also trying to paint my room. We'll see how that goes.

  • I'm also contemplating sewing ideas... and projects...
Lol--one thing about having many hobbies: You're never bored.

Monday, July 02, 2007

A random Summertime update about everything under the sun...

...or rather, under the clouds at this point. We're finally getting some rain, after being deprived for some time.

This is where Friday afternoon found me:

Heather, her children, and I met up at the Carl Sandburg Home in Flat Rock. It's such a beautiful house, with goats and chickens and a garden to interest the kids, as well as a great pond down below with huge bream, some ducks, and some beautiful pond lilies. All great things for children. And for the adults, there was a house to look at, a tour to take, a gift shop with lots of great books to examine, cheese and soap to buy, and (if you didn't miss it as we did), a cheese demonstration to attend. As well as a picnic to enjoy. And as a pseudo-writer, I love to hear the history and the words of Carl Sandburg. He was a writer for the common man, the same way Aaron Copeland was a composer for the common people who took the ideologies and folk tunes of America and molded them into new sound...

Ahem. Let me get off my soapbox.

Heather and I decided to do a switcheroo--I'd bring her raw milk and freshly ground whole wheat bread, and she'd bring me veggies from her garden and some free-range eggs from her chickens. I think I got the more generous bargain, 'cause she stuck in some of her black raspberry preserves, too. Wow. Yum. Delicious. (Ahem-- Heather... how'd you like the raw milk? And how'd the bread go over with Alex? )

And so, tonight found me cooking with some of the produce. Specifically, the greens from the beets. (Well, I cooked the beats too, in the oven at 400, which is a great way to precook them, should you ever come across a beet to cook. and then, you can slice them, removing the skin in the process, and saute them in butter with salt and pepper and some nutmeg... )

In the process of cooking the greens, and trying to find a recipe and failing (well, okay-- I didn't look on the 'net...), and then inventing my own perfectly good recipe after inspiration from Joy of Cooking... I returned to Mark Bitman's How to Cook Everything to discover that beet greens are basically swiss chard, in which Mark Bitman has 3 recipes for, and no telling how many Joy has... Lol.

But here's my simple recipe for Swiss Chard (a.k.a. beet greens) with Apples:
  • A bunch (however much you have) of swiss chard, washed; damaged stems and leaves removed, and then both stems and leaves sliced into small 1" pieces. (washed and chopped, I had about 3 cups.)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, sliced thinly
  • 1 1/2 t. Bacon grease, if you are so blessed to have it. If not, a combo of butter and olive oil.
  • (I rounded out the grease with 1 T. olive oil)
  • ~ 1 T. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 t. Italian Seasoning
  • dash of nutmeg
  • dash of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste.
Heat grease, butter, and/or oil in pan. Add apples, sauteing for a minute. Add in chard, saute for another minute, and then add in seasonings. Cook until greens are tender--about 5 minutes max. at fairly high heat.

I think know this recipe will not appeal to all... it's something like Sharon's kale and tomatoes... lol... So let me leave you with another which will appeal more universally.

My mother has a great way of cooking any bean that is incredibly simple. Basically, you wash and sort through a package of any dried beans, place in the crock pot with stock or water and appropriate spices, and depending on the bean, it'll be done any where from 2-3 to 7-8 hours later. It's the same as many old-fashioned cooks used to do, but instead of a bean-pot, Mama just uses the crock pot. She wanted me to record what I'd done today with some black-eye peas, so here goes:
1 package black-eye peas, washed and sorted through
1 large or 1 1/2 small onions, stem and root removed, sliced in thick, 1-2" wedges
4-5 slices pre-cooked bacon, sliced or torn into pieces
4-5 bay leaves
3-4 whole cloves 1 to 1 1/2 T. better than bullion (chicken base)
2 t. (one squirt) ketchup

Hot water (about a quart)

Place all ingredients in a medium-sized slow cooker. Cover with hot water, stir, and cook until done, 1 1/2--2 hours on high heat, or 3 1/2-4 on low. Add:

Salt and pepper to taste
Generous Dash of ground sage Enjoy.

For those who have dealt with long soaks for beans before--according to my favorite foodie, Mark Bittman, it's unnecessary, and doesn't help with the "nitrogen content" anyway. I tend to agree.

Quotes by Carl Sandburg:

I have always felt that a woman has the right to treat the subject of her age with ambiguity until, perhaps, she passes into the realm of over ninety. Then it is better she be candid with herself and with the world.
Life is like an onion: you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.
Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during the moment.
The greatest cunning is to have none at all.

When a nation goes down, or a society perishes, one condition may always be found; they forgot where they came from. They lost sight of what had brought them along.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Last year about this time...

I was scrounging around Whole Foods and Earth Fare and any other likely place for this:

I didn't find it until today, at World Market.

So, Alysa, in memory of you, I drank Bundaburg.

It's just like Red Rock, but not as hot... lol...

Miss you, my dear friend.

Posted via web from marielenora's posterous

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Homeward Bound...

Growing up ten minutes from the curvy roads of the SC mountains (yeah, you peeps in the northwest, go ahead and laugh) makes me a mountain girl at heart. I simply love them. So my family, in conjunction with all our loves for the mountains, go to the Smokies every year. We camp in Cades Cove, hike around, bike the loop, cook on a camp stove and by the camp fire (breakfast tastes a hundred times better outdoors), and generally have a good time. Well, a mostly good time. Sharon's right--we planned too much this year. You can see her assessment here.

So, here's my assessment:

What Worked:
  • Having the whole family around. In the past, Will and Beth and the boys couldn't join us... it was great to have them along!
  • Campsite cooking. I love cooking outside, and this year, as normal, it was tons of fun. (Of course, with a sturdy cook box, two coolers, and a decent camp stove, it's like having your own personal outdoor kitchen... )
  • Borrowing a bike rack from a friend--and getting Daddy to adjust my gear shift, and my seat back. I now love my bike even more... lol...
  • The bike rack was also great, since Daddy's ancient bike ended up breaking, and his homemade bike rack couldn't hold any more than three bikes at a time
  • Visiting the Little Pigeon River... so the babies could play in the shallows, and we could meet up with Ben, who'd gone fishing. He caught some beautiful rainbow trout, and he cooked them over the fire. Will was amazed at their fresh flavor. Beth was umm... watching someone gut fish for her first time... lol!

    --Becca and myself with the munchkins...
  • Stopping by the un-highest point in the Smokies... ! I'd always thought the overlook right off of the road was Clingman's Dome. Apparently, I've actually never been to it, since Becca noticed the sign that said "Clingman's Dome-7 miles" right after the overlook. I'll remedy that next year, though.

    --Becca and I pretending to hike the Appalachian Trail...
  • Going to the Aquarium of the Smokies wasn't my first choice of activities. I'd been there before, and, well, that was our worst day last year. But this year, after biking the loop that morning, it was a nice reprieve. And I got some priceless pictures...

    Renee entranced.... ...and Renee as a psycedelic fairy princess...

  • The alternate route to the Smokies, avoiding Gatlinburg. The only problem was when we happened upon a driver. from. a. flat. state. with. no. curvy. roads.

  • The cool coffee house in Cherokee. I've always thought of Cherokee as a pretty red-neck tourist spot, but this place had great coffee, just when Becca and I needed it...

It also had a drum circle in the back, which Becca and I didn't guess that's where the culture comes in.

What didn't work:
  • Small creatures in the middle of the night. Ditto with jokes in the middle of the night. (I'm not sure I can do anything about Daddy's snoring...) I guess I'm a light sleeper... and it takes a night for my Thermarest to fully unwind and "cush".

  • Planning too much. We felt rushed.

  • I'm not quite as passionate on this topic as Sharon is, but long hikes with babies are a hard thing to do. Especially if he's an EC baby--and, well... anyway...

  • Not enough pictures... lol... my camera was not attached to my wrist the whole time. A lot of my pictures, I wouldn't have had without Daddy taking over the camera. I've not looked at what's on his camera yet...
    **edit--now I have, and they're on my picasa**
So, there you have it! Next year should be even better.

--Some, but not all, pictures, are on my Picasa site... and Sharon has more on hers.