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Monday, April 25, 2011

Ancient Bibles and Young Daughters

Last weekend I attended a retreat at Falls Creek.  At my very first opportunity I went to see a collection of ancient Bibles from the Green Collection, skipping my annual tradition of buying a retreat t-shirt first thing.  Ok, I sent money with a friend, but I would've skipped it!  The Green Collection is a privately owned collection of 30,000 Bible items (we got to see a small part of what they own) with a goal to eventually see an entire museum built around the story of the Bible.  How cool is it to see this amazing collection right there where we have youth summer camp?

As the curator of this collection began to tell us all the stories about these manuscripts and books I was astounded.  We saw cuneiform tablets, a fragment from the Dead Sea Scrolls, an Esther scroll, many ancient scrolls and Bibles centuries old; Wycliffe, Gutenberg, Tyndale, Coverdale Bibles, a Martin Luther New Testament, a 1st edition "He" King James Bible from 1611 and a "Wicked" Bible from 1631; as well as a Bible first legally printed in America in 1782 with a letter from Congress in the front granting permission for its printing and recommending its reading.  These are just a few I can remember. 

But one is my favorite; it is a Bible commissioned by a mother in Ethiopia in the 13th century.  For her daughter.  The expense would've likely been staggering, and the book unique.  Right before the curator moved on to the next item she noted the damage to the book, likely by rats (ick!) and reminded us that it was still beautiful.  Indeed.

I was both moved and shamed.  I am truly a Bible believer;  I love the Word and teach it to....well, lots.  Still, the expense and priority that this mom gave God's Words centuries ago truly amazed me.  It reminded me that often my intention is to make sure my children know God's Words but I am easily distracted by busyness and other voices.  I think of this ancient mother who knew that in these Words Life resided and made it available for her child.  What if I was willing to pay any cost to make His Word available to my kids?  For us, it's easy to physically put it in their hands, but it costs much more to pour it into their lives and hearts.

A few weeks ago my older daughter had an assignment for her AWANA class.  She was to bring her favorite Bible verse to class written on a card.  She chose Psalm 139:14, "I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made...."  I smiled when she shared it with me because I too have learned the power of this verse.  This is a truth I want her to know, I want it to come quickly and easily to her mind with a familiar and honest certainty persuading her that all conflicting messages are counterfeit.  God's Word can have this power in  her life....I just want to be alongside saying, "Yep, what He said!"

Back to the retreat, as the Curator neared the end of the tables having presented these precious books to us chronologically we could see the miraculous journey of God's Word through the centuries.  Throughout these years men lived and died doing their part to see that God's Word endured.  He was and continues to be faithful to ensure that it is always so.  

And in the middle of that story was a mother in Ethiopia who went to great expense to ensure that her daughter had a Bible.....May I be like her. 

Here are some great links about the credibility of God's Word (from a favorite pastor blogger - also my husband):
Who wrote the Bible, God or man?
Is the Bible Credible?
Here is a link to the upcoming exhibit of the Green Collection at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art - a MUST SEE!  I'm seriously counting the days.....(21)
Green Collection in OKC

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sunflower Cake

Do you have those magazine clippings that you save for ages and swear you are going to try when you find some time?  This post is one of those.  My oldest daughter loves Marshmallow Peep Chicks.  I keep trying them, each year expecting them to start tasting good.  Each year I'm disappointed.  At least they don't taste bad, they just don't TASTE.  Sorry Peep lovers.

I clipped a recipe for a Sunflower Peeps Cake in a Taste of Home magazine, and finally a couple of years ago my big girl and I made it.  I'm posting it today, because now is the time to buy Peeps for petals if you want to try this sometime....and I'm pretty sure that they will keep for a long time.

I love this cake because it is so easy and pretty hard to mess up, but it looks impressive.  Right now we have purple Peep Chicks on our kitchen counter.  A white cake with white chocolate chips and pastel sprinkles and purple or pink Peep Petals would be awfully cute for Easter......I'm just sayin'.

You can find the official instructions on the Taste of Home site here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Graduation and a Milk Moustache

We are about to have our first graduation.  This year our son will graduate from 8th grade and move on to high school.  Our school goes from little bitties (4 year olds) to 8th grade, and has a graduation ceremony when they finish those precious years.  This morning I got to see an image that I think perfectly sums up this stage in life. 

It was just a normal morning, my big kids were sitting at the breakfast table eating leftover cinnamon rolls before they rush out the door for Monday morning school.  I asked my son about his week and what might be coming up that we both needed to be remembering as we did a lot of unfortunate forgetting last week.  His eyes shot open wide and he ran for his backpack and pulled out a plastic bag containing a royal blue cap and gown. 

I have graduation on my calendar and on the fringe of my mind.  Knowing that it's coming and feeling both excited and a little afraid of my reaction has kept it on the edge.  It seems for us that 8th grade is that year when I can begin to see glimpses of the adult he will be and want to burst with pride; but still relish (or roll my eyes in exasperation) at the childishness that shows up on a daily basis too.

This morning he finished up his breakfast and carefully unwrapped his graduation cap.  He tried it on after several questions and a tutorial from mom.  As he looked up and grinned at me I saw the image that perfectly encapsulates 8th grade.  He had a very distinguished look on his face as he gazed up toward the corner of the room and sported his most impressive smartypants grown up face -  
Complete with a milk moustache. 

I hope I never forget, every single day is a gift.

"Train up a child in the way he should go
[and in keeping with his individual gift or bent],
and when he is old he will not depart from it." 
Proverbs 22:6, Amplified Version

Friday, April 8, 2011

Easter Pretzel Snacks

This is a super easy and fun snack for Easter time; or anytime you can find an M&M in the colors of the season.  I think I originally found this in a Family Fun magazine, but now I can’t find the link.  I first made them when my 14 year old son was a preschooler.  This is a great project with little ones, because it’s fast and not too hot…..which means no burning fingers or impatient attitudes!  This project is also great for big kids.  They can make these all by themselves and bring them to you on a silver platter.

You will need:
·        a bag of Pretzel Snaps (the little square “woven” looking pretzels).
Sometimes at Christmas you can find tree and bell shaped pretzels that work great, they just need to be able to hold the kiss when it softens.

·        some regular Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped. J

·        a couple of handfuls of M&Ms in seasonal colors.

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees.  Lay the pretzels in a single layer on a cookie sheet covered in foil or parchment paper.  Place an unwrapped Kiss on top of each pretzel and put in the oven for 7 minutes.  Remove and immediately press an M&M into the softened chocolate.  Allow to set so the chocolate can reform and harden (fridge, please), or just eat soft and gooey.

Hershey’s Hugs make the cutest little pretzel snacks, but the white chocolate in them is much softer.  They will take only a couple of minutes to soften.  I would only leave them in the oven for about 3 minutes before testing to see if they are soft enough to be topped with the M&M.

I just found a great website called She Cooks.  LeeAnn Rice has an entire Easter menu that looks fabulous.  I especially wanted to share some links to recipes that look fun with kids.  Check out Bird's Nests and Resurrection Rolls.  We make giant Bird's Nests at our house, using green-colored coconut to line the nests (which I should probably think about leaving out since my kids won't eat it after that addition - but they sure are fun!), sometimes we add Marshmallow Peep Chicks.  Also, in the comments section under Resurrection Rolls is a link to Easter Story cookies. 


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Resurrection Eggs

I have a love - hate relationship with my Easter decorations.  I am always so happy to crawl into the attic and get down my box of bunnies and eggs.  But by the time Easter comes and goes I am ready to stomp on every plastic egg that has somehow been scattered all over my house; and really, bunnies are only cute for so long (for me it's somewhere between 2 and 3 weeks). 

I do have a favorite Easter "decoration" that I want to tell you about.  Yes it is an egg; a dozen to be specific.  But they are very special.  Some of you have the Resurrection Eggs that are usually available at Christian Bookstores right about now.  I always thought they were wonderful, but wouldn't spend the money to buy them.  One year I found instructions to make some on my own in one of my favorite books.  Emilie Barnes writes all about her ideas for celebrating holidays and taking care of home and family.  The book is called "Emilie Barnes' 15 Minute Home and Family Organizer."  This homemade set of Resurrection Eggs is over 10 years old and is something I cherish because I made them with some amazing women who are dear to me. 

In this book Emilie Barnes suggests making eggs that represent the Easter Story.  I got all my Bible Study girlfriends together and we made a set for each of our families.  This worked out great because we each signed up for one of the items - and brought enough for everyone. Then we shared and assembled them all together.  The Easter Eggs are numbered 1-12.  Each numbered egg has an item and a Scripture that tells part of the True Easter Story. 

I found that there are examples similar to the pattern I followed online if you google Homemade Resurrection Eggs.  I'm happy to share mine too.....

Here is number 11, it includes a small stone and the reference John 20:1.  The other eggs contain things like a small cross, a branch with thorns, a perfumed scrap of fabric.

We've used this in different ways in our family.  When our kids were little, we would just open them up and tell them the stories while they examined the contents.  As they've gotten older we have them look up the Scriptures and read the passage that goes with each item in order.  If you have a structured family time you can open one every day as you countdown to Easter.  We tend to just find an evening close to Easter to get them out and dive in, taking time to consider the real meaning of Easter. 

I wish I had pictures to share with you of my kids with open plastic eggs lying around them as they sit in the floor with their daddy looking at a dozen ordinary items like a dime and a piece of a sponge while hearing about the extraordinary love Jesus has for them.  These are precious snapshots in my memory.

Here's an Easter Brunch recipe from Emilie's book:  It's really yummy, and healthier than traditional sausage. Enjoy!

Turkey Sausage
Mix together thoroughly with a fork:
1 pound ground turkey
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Shape into 12 small patties.  Fry in ungreased skillet or bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes in shallow pan until done. Do not overcook or patties will become tough.  Oven baking produces juicier patties and is easier when feeding a crowd.