Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sweet, sweet Name

Old, true words. For me this weekend, "’Tis manna to the hungry soul, And to the weary, rest."

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the troubled breast;
’Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary, rest.

Dear Name, the Rock on which I build,
My Shield and Hiding Place,
My never failing treasury, filled
With boundless stores of grace!

By Thee my prayers acceptance gain,
Although with sin defiled;
Satan accuses me in vain,
And I am owned a child.

Jesus! my Shepherd, Husband, Friend,
O Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
Accept the praise I bring.

Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I’ll praise Thee as I ought.

Till then I would Thy love proclaim
With every fleeting breath,
And may the music of Thy Name
Refresh my soul in death!

John Newton, 1779

Friday, January 21, 2011

Caught Red-Handed

I love a lot of things...but I adore being an Aunty.  God has blessed our family with five beautiful gifts:  Noah, Asher, Ethan, Luke, and Ruger.  With five little guys under the age of 3 1/2, you can imagine the non-stop pace of life my brothers and sisters experience.

My family, particularly my sister Kelly, has been great about sending me photos and stories about her boys' latest capers.  Ethan, who will turn two next month, and is affectionately called "E" by our family, is the highlight of today's post.  Kel wrote me earlier this week to tell of his latest mischievous moment: 

Caught red-handed!  I heard some shuffling in the pantry, as I was checking an email in the kitchen.  I noticed E went in there 30 seconds earlier (he loves that place). Thought I'd give him a moment in there... then I opened the door and voila!  E had the last red heart valentine cookie in his mouth, and was holding it with two hands, like it was a precious artifact that he just discovered.  I said, "Ethan Anthony! No cookies 'til after dinner."  He looked at me with those big blue eyes and a smile and said, with red dribble coming down the corners of his mouth, "MMMMMM!!!! Cookie Mommy!"   

Our little valentine, E.  October 2010

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In You

Grateful for the words of this song.

I sing for joy
In my remorse
A well within prosperity’s curse
That drowns the mighty oak of pride
But feeds the root of God inside.

In You
I find my rest
In You
I find my death
In You
I find my all and my emptiness
Somehow it all makes sense

In You I’m rich
When I’ve been made poor
Comfort found when I mourn
The prideful one You see from afar
Drawing near to low, broken hearts.

In You
I find my rest
In You
I find my death
In You
I find my all and my emptiness
But it all makes sense

"In You" by Shane and Shane, from the album Pages.
Listen to the song here. You can listen to the whole album for free on Grooveshark.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A New Tra-dish

Get your aprons on:  It's winter.  It's baking time.  And it's Recipe Wednesday!  Heaven help us.  

I love baking and cooking year round, so I've decided to share some recipes that catch my attention.  Since I am both gluten and dairy-free, I'll include my allergy amendments (I have to use that political word because I live in DC) to the recipes along with the original copies.  Two to share today...


by Cooking Light Magazine
Courtesy of myrecipes.com

Think of it like this:  "I'm getting 3 servings of veggies" + "weird, this tastes just like banana bread."
Allergy amendments: 
-Gluten-free flour-- to replace regular flour
-Rice or almond milk-- to replace buttermilk
-To cut down on the amount of sugar, I use 1/4 c. brown sugar and 1/4 c. local honey (boost that immune system up!)
-To lower fat content, I use egg whites only
-and I only peel the carrots, not the zucchini or apple, because of the good nutrients found in the veggie peels


and 
by The Pioneer Woman
Courtesy of thepioneerwoman.com

If a Starbucks' no-water-soy-Chai-latte is dessert in a cup, then this bar is tantamount to a golden nugget of joy.  It has actual chai tea leaves in it!  (Note: I didn't make any substitutions for these guys.)

Happy baking.



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thoughts on prayer

Encouraged to persevere in bold, broken, and cheerful prayer:

"Do we have the nerve to ask God for what we really long for and what would really display his glory?  Let’s not settle for polite prayers that bore us and change nothing." (emphasis mine)
-Ray Ortlund, a Nashville pastor and featured blogger on The Gospel Coalition


“Not only lay Thy Commands on us, O Lord,
but be pleased to enable us for the performance
of every duty required of us. And so engage our
hearts to Thyself that we may make it our meat
and drink to do Thy will, and, with enlarged
hearts, run the way of Thy commands. Be merciful
to us, and bless us, and keep us this day in
all our ways. Let Thy love abound in our hearts,
and sweetly and powerfully constrain us to all
faithful and cheerful obedience.”
-Benjamin Jenks, 1646-1724, author of several prayer books 


"A sigh, a sob, is the most you can get out. But a mother would sooner hear her own child sob than another child sing. There is a music about that dear child’s voice that moves her heart and touches her spirit. And so the inward moanings of a broken heart are music in the ears of the Infinite Jehovah, and he accepteth the sincere prayers of his people, let them be as broken as they may."
-Charles Spurgeon, 1834-1892, British reformed Baptist preacher, on the topic of sincere prayer


Five very precious little reminders to pray.

Monday, January 10, 2011

My friend, Ha

Today I returned to the chiropractor after a three month (involuntary) hiatus.  Everytime I get an adjustment, they throw in a sweet deal that I cannot resist: a 30-minute massage-- free of charge.
Yes. I'm so serious.
So, last year I started going consistently and built a friendship with the massage therapist, Ha.  Ha is super friendly.  Sometimes we talk about her family, particularly her school-aged children.  Other times we laugh about funny things, like how Vietnamese women think hairy (American) men are attractive.  But most frequently we talk about Jesus.  In fact, the first question I usually get asked is if I am "still going to the church all the time."  We talk about what the Bible says, and what it means when someone says they are a Christian.
A few months ago, Ha told me that her kids have Christian friends.  They talk to Ha's son and daughter about Jesus a lot.  This past summer, Ha sent them to "Christian camp" because they come home and ask her a myriad of questions about Jesus and the Bible.  Ha can't answer their questions, so she often talks to her customers about them. 
Because Ha is so good at her job, she has many loyal customers.  In fact, during a conversation where I invited her to my church, Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC), she perked up and told me that several of her customers go to that church and they talk with her and give her books about Jesus in her own language (smile).  She also told me that there is a Christian lady who speaks her language and calls her weekly to see if she can come to her house and answer any questions she has about Jesus.
Today, as soon as I was face-down she asked me about Jesus.  I told her about Jesus' main message: repenting of sin and believing in Jesus.  We talked about how God is good and perfect; and how we are not.  We talked about what sin is.  I told her how kind it was for God to send Jesus to pay the debt that we couldn't pay (the price of our sin offending a holy God + the price of his wrath against that sin).  I tried to explain that Jesus didn't come so that we could be happy (temporary) all the time, but instead be filled with joy (permanent) because we were in relationship with God and not seperated from Him by our sin.
I asked Ha if she would call herself a Christian.  She said no, that she is a Buddhist because that is what her parents and grandparents raised her to be.  But, she added, she still loves Jesus, believes in Him, and prays to Him and feels peace.  I asked Ha if she had read anything about Jesus in the Bible.  She said yes, emphatically, and told me about all the books people have given her about Jesus.  I told her that sometimes Jesus says some hard things and asked her if she wanted me to tell her about them.  She said yes.  So, I told her that Jesus tells us that He is the only way to God, and that every other religion, including Buddhism, will not bring anyone to the one and only true God.
There was a bit of silence. 
Ha asked me if I love Jesus.  I told her I love Him so much, and pray that she and her family would know how much He loves them.  She thinks Jesus might have sent me to her.  I told her I think that He did, and will pray that she will repent of her sins and believe in Him as the only true God.
Face-up or face-down, it was a reminder to me to continue to ask God for boldness about Jesus.  I am realizing more and more that it is the most unloving thing to hold back or to soften the Gospel.  This news has their best in mind.  Pray that I continue to love Ha well by sharing with her the truth about Christ.  And pray that my heart would overflow with joy and gratitude that God chose to save a sinner like me.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Amy Carmichael

Get ready. I'm on a biography kick...

While in Germany for Christmas, Kim and I read an Amy Carmichael biography out loud to each other. Each night we'd cozy up to a pot of tea and read the story of this woman who loved God, was convinced that He heard prayer, and gave her life to serve others. A selection from one of her poems entitled "No Scar?":


No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierc├Ęd are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar?


Okay, maybe we were cheeseballs and read by candlelight...



Thursday, January 6, 2011

Start Somewhere

During college, my friend Renee told me that if I was ever going to keep a journal I just needed to just start somewhere. So, she was right. This is me starting somewhere. I hope this blog can be a way for me to share many thoughts (I love to read), questions (curious cat), quotes (should be a love language), music (<3), recipes (num nums), stories (endless supply), travels (show-me-the-money-airplane), and photos (decor, nature, coffee, flowers, my beautiful nephews) with my friends and sweet family. A lot of the time, I'll mention God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, sin, grace, prayer, and talk about what God is teaching me. That's because I'm a Christian. And that's the most important thing you can ever know about me and the most important thing I can ever talk with you about.

In other news, Charles Spurgeon's Morning selection for January 6 was super good today. As I read it on my morning metro commute, these words based off of the text in 1 Peter particularly struck me. Spurgeon says:

"Can you trust him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens, he has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! Have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God."
Morning, January 2


Happy travels.