Monday, October 30, 2006

Distorted Beauty

This video isn't new, by any means. I have seen it on other blogs, and thought the message was so powerful that I should share it here. It is a commercial from Dove showing what a model looks like before the shoot and after a dozen or so makeup artists do their magic. Carolyn Mahaney wrote an excellent response to it on the GirlTalk blog, and since she so squarely hit the nail on the head, I have nothing to add. So I will share it here: (see here for the entire post.)

The Dove Campaign got it partially right—the fashion industry has certainly contributed to a distorted perception of beauty. And yet, their solution—“every girl deserves to feel beautiful just the way she is”—is well-meaning and yet fundamentally unbiblical.
You see, women believe that physical beauty will make them happy, successful, popular among the women, desirable to the men – so they pursue it with a fury!
Physical beauty, however, does not deliver as advertised. Proverbs 31:30 reveals the falsehood and the futility of this quest for beauty: Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain.
Even if every girl did “feel beautiful just the way she is,” it wouldn’t bring her true joy or lasting happiness or solve even one of her problems.
Truth be told, what we all deserve is not to feel beautiful but rather to be condemned to hell for sinfully seeking to attract the worship of our fellow creatures instead of living to bring glory to God.
God did not send Jesus to this earth to die so that women could get over their self-esteem problem and feel better about themselves. No, He sent his Son to die to rescue us from our sinful, futile quest for physical beauty and to reveal to us the satisfaction that comes from knowing God—whether we are beautiful or not!
What freedom and hope is found in Christ! We don’t need to feel beautiful about ourselves to find happiness! In fact, we’re better off not even thinking about ourselves. Rather, God has offered us in Jesus Christ forgiveness, hope, freedom from sin and a joy that never ends.
So while this little video effectively exposes the false front of beauty presented by our culture, let’s not look to Dove’s advertising executives for the solution to the beauty crisis. Rather, let’s join the campaign to tell others of the true freedom that is found in Christ!

Friday, October 27, 2006


I was informed that the link to the Casting Crowns song didn't work. I think I have it fixed, so take the time to watch it!

Does Anybody Hear Her?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bored Pet Owners . . .

I couldn't resist sharing these pictures when I found them. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Last night we were heading home from stamping at Suzy's and our car became overwhelmed with the smell of a skunk. What a perfect learning opportunity, I thought, so I said,
"Hey buddy, do you know what that smell is?"
"What?" he replied.
"That stinky smell, do you know what animal that is?" I asked again.
"It's a skunk. The skunk is a stinky animal!" I explained to him.
I laughed out loud when he replied,
"Does the skunk need to take a bath?"
What do you say to that? "I guess it wouldn't hurt." I answered.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Does Anybody Hear Her?

I got a link to this great Casting Crowns video on youtube and wanted to share it with all of you (HT: JR). Casting Crowns is one of my favorite groups (Newsboys still hold the #1 spot) because their songs have such great messages about how we "do" church. How it is so often a once-a-week meeting and we have our church friends and church activities and we never once come in contact with the world around us.

So here are the lyrics for those of you who have trouble hearing them (i.e. mom). If you get the chance to watch the video, please do. It will be worth your 3 minutes as it has a great message.

She is running
A hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction
She is trying
But the canyon's ever widening
In the depths of her cold heart.
So she sets out on another misadventure just to find
She's another two years older
And she's three more steps behind.

Does anybody hear her?
Can anybody see?
Or does anybody even know she's going down today
Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me.
Does anybody hear her?
Can anybody see?

She is yearning
For shelter and affection
That she never found at home
She is searching
For a hero to ride in
To ride in and save the day
And in walks her prince charming
And he knows just what to say
Momentary lapse of reason
And she gives herself away


If judgement looms under every steeple
If lofty glances from lofty people
Can't see past her scarlet letter
And we never even met her.

God, forgive us for making it all about "me". There are so many hurting people out there who need your love and forgivenenss and it is so easy to get wrapped up in my desires. Take my eyes off of myself and put them on You, and help me see those whom you have put in my path that I can minister to.

There is another Casting Crowns song that I love and will share with you in a few days. Hope this one touches your heart.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Soup's On!

I love fall, for many a reason, but especially because it is soup weather! Our church had it's annual chili supper and bonfire a couple of weeks ago and I was in heaven. That evening encompasses some of my favorite parts of fall: chili, hot apple cider, bonfires and roasting marshmallows. Although, the fire was so hot it was hard to get close enough to roast marshmallows.

Anyway, I thought you might like 2 great recipes for soup. The first is my Broccoli Potato Cheese soup, which I have been making for over 7 years. The recipe comes from my future sister-in-law, Kay, who gave it to me at a shower before Dan and I got married.

The second recipe, Butternut Squash Soup, is a new one, but quickly is becoming a fall "must have." A hearty hat tip goes out to the food network's Alton Brown for this recipe.

Both recipes are a breeze to make and make enough to share with company or to freeze for later use.

Broccoli Potato Cheese Soup
8 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes (can substitute chicken broth, but subtract water)
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
2 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1 20 oz. pkg. frozen broccoli
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 lb. cubed velveeta cheese

Cook first four ingredients for 20 minutes on med heat. Add potatoes and broccoli and cook an additional 20 minutes. Add soup and cheese and simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring often.

Butternut Squash Soup
6 cups (about 2 large) butternut squash
melted butter for brushing
1 T. salt, plus 1 t.
1 t. white pepper, plus 1/2 t.
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 T. honey
1 t. minced ginger
4 oz. heavy cream
1/4 t. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Brush the inside of the squash with a little butter and season with 1T. salt and 1t. white pepper. On a sheet pan lay the squash flesh (inside) up. Roast for 45 - 60 minutes or until the flesh is nice and soft.

Scoop the flesh from the skin into a pot and add the stock, honey, and ginger. Bring to a simmer and puree using a stick blender or a traditional blender. Stir in the heavy cream and return to a low simmer. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

The Story of a Chicken

I've said it before and I'll say it again: God made the right decision to bring me into the world in this century. I've said this when faced with using outhouses, traveling in cold weather in my warm car, and now I say it in reference to preparing food.

Let me give some background. I am embarking on once-a-month cooking (OAMC). This is the idea where you organize all your recipes and shop for everything at one time, then devote one LOOOOOOONG day to cooking a bunch of dinners, separating them and freezing them. When a Tuesday night comes around and you have no idea what to make, then out of the freezer comes a prepared meal that only needs to be reheated. I cannot give you my feelings on this phenomenon, because tomorrow will be the first time I try it. Sarah is coming over and we will tag-team between the little ones while we cook 20-some meals.

Ok, back to my original thought. So I bought a whole chicken and threw it in the crock pot for about 10 hours on high. This was recommended to me by Rachel, who first introduced me to the OAMC idea. (She has been doing it for a year). Her predictions were accurate, the meat literally fell off the bones and gave me enough chicken for 3 to 4 casseroles. But, here is the rub. . .

I have never cooked a whole chicken. We have been married 7 years and frozen chicken breasts have been on the market that entire time, so why go through all that? Besides, raw chicken grosses me out. Well, needless to say, I am grossed out. No one warned me that the inside of the chicken is still in tact. I am busy picking hot, cooked chicken off the bone and I see ribs. Yucky, but I can take it. I am an adult now and I know that the white meat I enjoy so much comes from a little bird with feathers and a beak. I've just never had to deal with that end of the food chain. But now, I see the ribs and after a few more pieces of meat fall off, I see something even more disgusting . . . The gizzards. Now I could go into a long rant about why we call them gizzards, when in fact they are kidneys and the heart and lungs (do chickens have lungs?) and all other sorts of disgusting innards, but that would make this a very long post. I'll suffice it to say that not all euphemisms are inappropriate, darn it.

Anyway, Julie tells me that if you let the chicken thaw before you put it into the crock pot, you can scrape out all the "gizzards", but I can't decide if raw gizzards are any less yucky than cooked ones. (Feel free to comment if you have an opinion).

Moving on, after seeing the gizzards and feeling entirely grossed out, I decide right then and there that I am done. I pick off the remaining large pieces of meat and throw the carcass away. Now I am told that if you save the carcass you can make wonderful soup, but Swanson's broth isn't very expensive and it doesn't gross me out at all, so I will do my part to keep them in business.

All of that to say that I still think it was worth it. I got a lot of chicken, flavored better than plain white meat, for only $.49 a pound! The whole chicken was less than $3! Although I will never be able to raise, kill, pluck and cook my own chicken, I guess I will have to get used to disposing of gizzards for the good of the family's budget.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I'm not a nerd

Told you I was a sucker for quizzes!

I am nerdier than 9% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

By the way, I try not to despise anyone, except Satan.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Faithful to Complete It

Dan and I are in the process of reading a book entitled, How People Change by Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp. It is part of a Bible Study we are about to embark upon by the same title. We are supposed to have read the entire book by Tuesday when we meet, but life hasn't afforded either of us the opportunity to read that extensively. I have thoroughly enjoyed the chapters I have read so far and anticipate great things from this study.

This morning I was reading chapter 3 and it was discussing where God is taking you. In the midst of all our problems, it is easy to want the circumstances to change, or the people involved to change, or even our attitudes to change, without a view of eternity. Here is how the authors describe what it will look like when we reach Heaven and our sanctification will be complete:

Listen carefully to the saints who are looking back at earthly life. As they consider all that they experienced, what do they celebrate?

These fellow pilgrims could celebrate a good job, a beautiful house, friendly neighbors, a happy marriage, physical health, and many other things. These are all good things and it is apropriate to be thankful for them. But the saints on the other side are celebrating none of them. As they stand before the Lord, crowned and reigning with him, their restoration is complete. God has finished his work of transforming their lives as he transformed thier hearts by his grace. As they stand before him, they are like him in true righteousness and holiness.

And so they rise in a crescedo of worship and celebration saying, "You did it! You did it! You did what we could not do for ourselves. You broke our bondage to sin and restored us to be the willing worshipers you created us to to be." The most important thing happening in your life right now is not that new house or new job. It is not your professionional success or the love of a friend. The one thing worth celebrating for all eternity is your redemption. By God's grace, you are being progressively delivered from the one thing that can completely destroy you: sin. But God not only delivers you, he restores you. He is making you a partaker of his divine nature.

There will be a day when you stand before God's throne. You won't be anxious with shame or fearful with guilt. As you stand before him, you will be like him because his grace made you a participant in his divine nature. In that moment, you will not be celebrating the physical gifts of earth-bound life. Your heart will overflow with the realization that God has been victorious. The battles of change and growth are forever past. The final destination is his presence and throne room. Together, dressed in white robes of righteousness and crowned with glory, we will celebrate the one thing worth living for: the Lamb and his salvation. This is where God is taking you.

That was powerful to me. Although I will never be free from sin in my earthy life, God is completing the work He started in me. I pray that as I see and experience change in my own life, I will remember the work of the One who initiated it and glory in the fact that His death and resurection brings about the completed work that we will all experience on the final day. With this in mind, it is much easier to give God the glory for change, instead of hogging all the credit for ourselves and our "hard work". It is only by His grace that any of us can experience change.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I have resolved to get up early. I really don't have any excuses. Not even weak ones. Alli sleeps through the night, Elijah is doing better, (not perfect, but better) and I am getting to bed by 10:30 regularly. I don't need 9 hours of sleep, but I need to have a consistent time in God's Word, which has been hard to come by for a while, basically since we started having children.

The Lord has been working in my heart for this. I have found myself desiring to read His word over checking e-mail and my blogs. The temptation will probably always be there to throw in a load of laundry first, maybe wash up those few dishes really quick, and then, before I know it, Alli is awake or Elijah needs me for something. This is why I need to wake up early.

So today was my first day. It wasn't easy to rise early, as it is a cloudy, rainy morning and 6:00 felt and looked like 4:00. But by God's grace I rose, read, prayed and had time to throw in a load of laundry, clean up some dishes, make lunch for Dan (he will especially appreciate that) and write this entry. And the quiet! I could get used to that!

My only question is this: Is it ok to obey by rising early and reading the Word, but to depend on my caffeine more? Because I forgot to mention, making coffee was the first thing I did!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Healthy Eating

I received this email today from Sarah about healthy eating. I knew there was an easy way!

"According to a recent article I read, they said eating right doesn't have to be complicated. Nutritionists say there is a simple way to tell if you are eating right. Colors. Fill your plate with lots of colors. Greens, Reds, Yellows.

"In fact, I tried it this morning. I ate an entire bowl of M&M's. It was delicious! I never knew eating right could be so easy.

"I now have a new outlook on life."

Enjoy your day and remember to eat healthy!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Our Stronghold and Refuge

I was reading Psalm 9 this morning when verse 9 and 10 caught my attention. They read:
The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

I knew that verse, but not that verse, so I turned to Nahum 1:7 and read,
The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him.

Now my ESV, which has scant cross-references, did not direct me to either verse; I just happened to know the Nahum passage from previous memorization. I liked reading both, as it gave me 2 views of God, while still saying the same thing.

Psalm 9:9 says those who know God, and I infer really know God (not a head knowledge), automatically put their trust in him and he has never forsaken them. Now this could be a verse for the Lordship Salvation debate! That is another post, on another day. :) The Nahum verse is in the middle of a passage declaring God's judgments. It is a great go-to passage on the wrath of God. But there in the middle we see God actively giving refuge to those who trust him. It seems less passive than Psalm 9. It is as if God is saying, "In the midst of my wrath, I am your stronghold, take your refuge in me."

I'm glad I read both. It is a sweet remembrance in Psalm 9 of God as my refuge, and Nahum 1 gives me firm, unshakable assurance of his protection. Both are worthy of continued meditation.