The Beauty of Sourdough

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Aside from the actual loaf and the fantastic aroma and flavor- sourdough bread has virtue.  It has a quality that may people lack- that of patience.

It is a humble sort of yeast- consisting of a mix of store bought and wild yeasts that have been gathered over many seasons.  It eats only once a week or so, and does that in the cold and darkness of your refrigerator.  It keeps within its boundaries most of the time and then goes to work as soon as you add it to flour and liquids.  AND- for my present story- it raises slowly and surely in the cold when you don’t have time to form it into a loaf and bake it right away!

I started making this bread early in the week.  But finishing it just didn’t fit into my schedule, so I placed the dough in a large cup, covered it securely and stuck it into the refrigerator to wait until I had more time.

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Mixing it up-

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ready to go-

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-ready for a slow raise-

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of three days in the fridge!

Three days was not what I had planned- but I’ve been so busy shopping and framing and gathering stuff to get ready for the next 2 weeks in Chincoteague that I kept punching it down when it got to the top of the bowl. 

Then I finally made up a small batch of whole wheat dough and added it to the sourdough-

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and then I braided it together and baked it.

bread and frames 018 The flavor and texture of the sourdough improved whilst raising slowly in the cold.  This is one of my BEST sourdough breads -EVER!

And all because of of its patient virtue.

Arthur Wood- a gifted teapot

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I moaned and complained a little about breaking a teapot on this post, (ok, I complained a LOT!) and I got a reward!

Cynthia is like my fairy godmother when it comes to teapots!  She went out and found me another pot!

And not just ANY pot either.  This one has a mark and a history and a former address.

bread and frames 015 It is hard to see the mark but it is definitely there and it tells much about the life and times of this lovely pot.  It was made sometime around 1954 , in Staffordshire, in the west midlands of England, on the Stoke -on – Kent.  This pottery is located in the same area as the more famous shops of  Wedgewood, Spode, and Royal Daulton.  It was started by Arthur Wood and his son Enoch in 1860 and continued to make teapots and piggy banks until the 1980’s  when it was sold out to a larger concern.

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I love it!  I like to think that it was made in 1954 and that we have both weathered the years, pretty much intact.  Both the pot and I are modest and unassuming in appearance but we still manage to do the jobs for which we were made .

I like that it bears its makers mark and brings admiration and value back because of its form and service.  I pray that the same thing can be said of me.


There is so much to do to get a house ready for renting out seasonally.  Frank and I  are going back down to Chincoteague this weekend and I’ve been shopping and sorting and stockpiling up what we need to  transport down with us.

Lately I’ve been totally working on framing the art for the walls in the bedrooms.  The walls are presently festooned with kitschy and strange craft items that was supposed to fit together into a theme.  I find it rather bizarre.

Jordan took down a lot of the items in the room he slept in over Christmas- they bothered him- hanging over his head in a threatening manner.

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This is the children’s room- the shelf over the bed held old skates, a dusty resin

baseball mitt, an old wooden bowling pin and miscellaneous sports memorabilia( this is the area that Jordan had already cleared off)- over the top of the bed are two golf  clubs, crisscrossed – and as you can see, an old racquet  in a stretcher frame is over the second bed.  The ceiling fan is made up of facsimile bats as the blades of the fan and another resin catcher’s mitt holding a dirty resin baseball.

The bedroom next door has a fishy theme, with a long handled net and fishing pole crisscrossed over the head of the bed and really bad plaques of lobsters and fish haphazardly hung about the room.   Not very attractive.

So, Meredith, Cynthia and I bought some local art to put up in the rooms, instead.  The problem was that the prints weren’t too pricey, but they were unframed and so Someone needed to get them framed. 

I am Someone.  I guess I could have just taken them to Michael’s and presented Meredith with an enormous bill- but I’m cheap.  First I tried to use an old window frame to make up a huge collage- but it was just not working.  So, yesterday, I just put  some of them into old frames I had, and the rest I bought inexpensive frames and matted them.  They look pretty good- bread and frames 010bread and frames 009  bread and frames 012

but what a lot of work this turned out to be!

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And at the end I had a whole lot of nails left over!

Microwave potato chips- a recipe aka~ true love for savory lovers!

 chips and pots 024 I read a lot of food blogs.  I love these men and women who are dedicated to baking and cooking and experimenting and sharing their recipes with the rest of us!  Lately, I’ve been reading this Australian blog- fig jam and lime cordial.  And she has shared a wonderful recipe that she got off of another blog, spicegirl- who got it from another blog- do you get the picture here? 

Anyway, I’m sharing it with you, because I am in LOVE with these chips- or crisps as the people from the land of OZ call them.

They are so easy to make.  AND they are delicious and not greasy and homemade and GOOD!

OK- this is what you need to make these!

~A mandolin for cutting the slices thin and uniform.  You could also use a food processor.

~a potato (or 10 potatoes- you decide)

~olive oil

~a sheet of parchment paper

~a microwave safe plate

~a microwave

~sea salt (fine)

Then you do this:

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Slice potato into thin slices-

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Pour 1 tsp of olive oil and turn them about to distribute it evenly on slices-

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Place on parchment paper covered dish – one layer only-

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Place in microwave and cook on high for about 4 minutes.

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If you are like me you will stand and watch them, mouth watering, as they crisp up in the oven.

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1 1/2 minutes…………. 3 minutes…………………..4 minutes!

chips and pots 023 Add salt to your taste and enjoy!

I finished my chips by the time the pictures uploaded- then while I was typing up the recipe, Cynthia came over and I made another batch for her.  Which are also now all gone.

Twelve chips = 1/2 medium potato.

The Journey to Faith- Psalms 3 and 27

Sometimes we need our enemies to help us define who we are.  More often, we need to go through trials so that we can recognize our weakness and vulnerability and the reliance we have in our God. 

Psalm 3

1-2 God! Look! Enemies past counting! Enemies sprouting like mushrooms,
   Mobs of them all around me, roaring their mockery:
   “Hah! No help for him from God!”
3-4 But you, God, shield me on all sides;
   You ground my feet, you lift my head high;
   With all my might I shout up to God,
   His answers thunder from the holy mountain.
5-6 I stretch myself out. I sleep.
   Then I’m up again—rested, tall and steady,
   Fearless before the enemy mobs
   Coming at me from all sides.
7 Up, God! My God, help me!
   Slap their faces,
   First this cheek, then the other,
   Your fist hard in their teeth!
8 Real help comes from God.
   Your blessing clothes your people!


Psalm 27
A David Psalm

1 Light, space, zest— that’s God!
   So, with him on my side I’m fearless,
      afraid of no one and nothing.
2 When vandal hordes ride down
      ready to eat me alive,
   Those bullies and toughs
      fall flat on their faces.
3 When besieged,
      I’m calm as a baby.
   When all hell breaks loose,
      I’m collected and cool.
4 I’m asking God for one thing,
      only one thing:
   To live with him in his house
      my whole life long.
   I’ll contemplate his beauty;
      I’ll study at his feet.
5 That’s the only quiet, secure place
      in a noisy world,
   The perfect getaway,
      far from the buzz of traffic.
6 God holds me head and shoulders
      above all who try to pull me down.
   I’m headed for his place to offer anthems
      that will raise the roof!
   Already I’m singing God-songs;
      I’m making music to God.
7-9 Listen, God, I’m calling at the top of my lungs:
      “Be good to me! Answer me!”
   When my heart whispered, “Seek God,”
      my whole being replied,
   “I’m seeking him!”
      Don’t hide from me now!
9-10 You’ve always been right there for me;
      don’t turn your back on me now.
   Don’t throw me out, don’t abandon me;
      you’ve always kept the door open.
   My father and mother walked out and left me,
      but God took me in.
11-12 Point me down your highway, God;
      direct me along a well-lighted street;
      show my enemies whose side you’re on.
   Don’t throw me to the dogs,
      those liars who are out to get me,
      filling the air with their threats.
13-14 I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness
      in the exuberant earth.
   Stay with God!
      Take heart. Don’t quit.
   I’ll say it again:
      Stay with God.

The language is filled with confidence, the mood is exuberant- like a song of joy along this journey of faith.  David knows the LORD well and describes Him from his own experiences.

As light and salvation, a stronghold, beautiful in His temple ( still a tabernacle or tent at this point.)  David  has come through some nasty situations and uses them as a springboard to praise.  His past burdens and narrow escapes have become areas of strength.  His enemies helped David get a clearer vision of the Love and protection and provision of God in his life. 

David’s present song comes from his previous fears and shaken faith- in his darkest hours, he reaches out toward the light of the LORD , when caught in a trap, he recognized the salvation  offered by his savior , when camped upon a lonely plain, only God was his stronghold.  In the midst of slander, siege, war and personal attacks, he know he will prevail because the LORD is his beautiful safe place, keeping him like a protected guest hidden away from harm.

He ends this psalm with strong testimony of God’s goodness  The secret of this witness is in the heart of faith – verse 3 of psalm 27 says ” my heart will not fear”.  God can help us conquer fear when we obey faithfully and learn to worship Him, walk with Him, and wait for His leading and presence.

David has learned to trust in God.  And so must I learn that lesson.  Over and over I need to learn that even in the most dire danger and fearful moments I cannot trust in my own strength or wits.  I have watched too many action films and read too many comic books where men are the heroes of the story.  I want to rely on myself- I want to succeed in the face of my enemies by my own rights.

But over time, it has become clear that it is by God’s grace and protection that I have overcome life’s obstacles.  It is only through His mercy that I have not been consumed and succumbed to the sinful habits and unhealthy practices that I am so prone to follow.  I only know righteousness when I remain in His presence.  I am on a journey, but not by myself.  I walk with fellow believers, following the paths that were laid out for us by our loving Father.  We travel together, sharing our stories of salvation- the testimonies of victories we have experienced and as we share we come to recognize that it is Christ who has won our victories- Christ who is the captain of our salvation.

Our enemies help us to define who we are, but it is Jesus Christ who gives us our identity. 

I do have some pictures!

I’ve just noticed that I’ve been neglecting to put up pictures.

I’ve carted my camera about and took many shots but they just haven’t made it to a public forum yet.  So- today, I’m going to put up some of these “Oh so cute!”  photos!


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Here is my brother, Ralph, Allyson and Aiden at Dan’s Dogs.

They seem to be having a clash with the cameras!

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And here is a series that Daniel took when I handed him my camera.


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I love the pictures children take- they are so focused on their view of reality.

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And food- reality being the food.  Chicken Lascola and Grilled cheese with fries.

And then we went to the Square and looked at the ice sculptures.

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Although Allyson and Aiden actually looked THROUGH one of the sculptures.

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And that was what I did on Monday.  Amy and Roger and Daniel and Ryan and Ralph Schley met Allyson and Aiden and Cynthia and me at Dan’s Dogs and had  a very nice visit.  It was cold outside and the snow started in earnest after these pictures and we totally enjoyed ourselves.

The End.

Ash Wednesday

Yesterday when I was Skyping with Meredith, she suddenly grew very quiet and looked up at the ceiling intently.  I could tell something was wrong- she quit speaking mid-thought and sentence and her concentration on the lamp hanging over her head was chilling to behold.

She was experiencing a small earthquake.

There is nothing that underscores our instability in this world like an earthquake.

Or the death of someone you love.

We are left feeling vulnerable.

Completely out of control.

And that is exactly the right place for us spiritually as Believers in Christ.

God is Sovereign.

We are vulnerable and IN  His control.

Luke wrote on Ash Wednesday for the ERD blog and I am going to share the link with you- it is a thoughtful and meaningful reminder of what “Ashes to ashes” means and how we can respond.

Hopefully, the significance of Ash Wednesday will shake up our world enough that we will respond.

Here’s the link.

Psalms – week 2

Psalm 2

1 Why do the nations conspire
       and the peoples plot in vain?

2 The kings of the earth take their stand
       and the rulers gather together
       against the LORD
       and against his Anointed One.

3 “Let us break their chains,” they say,
       “and throw off their fetters.”

4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
       the Lord scoffs at them.

5 Then he rebukes them in his anger
       and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,

6 “I have installed my King
       on Zion, my holy hill.”

7 I will proclaim the decree of the LORD :
       He said to me, “You are my Son ;
       today I have become your Father.

8 Ask of me,
       and I will make the nations your inheritance,
       the ends of the earth your possession.

9 You will rule them with an iron scepter  ;
       you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
       be warned, you rulers of the earth.

11 Serve the LORD with fear
       and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry
       and you be destroyed in your way,
       for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
       Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

This is one of my favorite psalms to study with the method I shared a couple of weeks ago.  It asks and answers questions and puts on a wonderful play of characters, as well.

1)  Who wrote it?

     David.  See Acts 4: 25

2)  What are the circumstances? ( historically, personally, nationally?)

     ??? conjecture- possibly when David was made King of Israel, and some of the surrounding nations resisted his authority.???

3)  Are there questions asked?  Identify them.

     Why are men rebelling against God’s authority and decrees?

4)  Are those questions answered?  By whom?

      Yes, by the Father (verses 4-6)

               the Son ( verses 7-9)

              and the Holy Spirit (verses 10-12)[ the reference to the Holy Spirit comes

             from the injunction to “be wise” in verse 10- references to wisdom in the

            OT  invoke the third Person of the Trinity]

5)  Can I pray this psalm?

       Yes, especially verses 10-12, which provide good prayer material from the  Holy Spirit.

6)  What names for God are used by the psalmist?

       LORD, Annointed One, Ruler of Heaven, King, Father, Son

7)  What is the relationship between the psalmist and God?

        There is a close relationship, David speaks as one inspired by the Holy Spirit

8)  Are there any New Testament references ( or any other Biblical reference)?

      Do the references make the psalm more clear?

      Yes!  Acts 4:23-27 .  It absolutely makes the psalm easier to understand, giving us the inspiration and authority to interpret this psalm in the light of the Person and work of Jesus Christ.  This understanding comes from Peter who identifies David as the author and Jesus as the Royal Son and King in Psalm 2.

9)  Whose voices are heard?  (ex. psalmist, God, unbelievers, nations, etc.)

      This is where I get really involved from an artistic point of view, because this Psalm can be read as a skit.  In fact, we “performed” it in class, the Kings wearing crowns  and muttering mutinous statements to each other, a small group of nations waving flags and drawing up battle plans – the Father sitting in an armed chair with a light placed behind Him and a scepter of power, the Annointed one with a purple scarf and a HUGE crucifix around the neck and the voice of the Holy Spirit wrapped up in a diaphanous veil of mystery speaking her verses in a quiet voice.

10) What does it mean to me?

         This psalm is like the Scriptures in 3D!  Listening to the different “voices” and recognizing their part in this prophetic psalm gave/gives me a different perspective in the reading.  It is no longer a lament against treacherous neighboring kingdoms and ungodly people- it becomes  more of a morality play meant to remind me of the passion of Christ and our place in His universal Kingdom.  God’s authority and position is not threatened by the treachery of a rebellious mankind- hence His laughter.  The solidarity of the Trinity and the ultimate beauty and justice of  Christ the King is clearly evidenced in this psalm.

Try this psalm as a skit with your family or friends- you will be amazed at the power and insight it offers in this form. 

Let me know what you think in the comments.  I really treasure your thoughts and opinions.  I’ve always taught lessons in a small and personal setting and I need input, questions, disagreement,etc., to help me grow as well.

I’d also like to know if the questions and answer method is helpful to you.  I developed these for a specific group of women, but I myself found it a good tool into the study of the individual psalms. 

What do you think?

Falafel – part 2

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For the recipe see this post.

Basically, these are Lebanese hush puppies.

But if you like the flavor of chick peas, they are delicious- and much better for you than hush puppies.


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Make a small ball and smoosh it gently- so that it cooks evenly.

I found that the recipe I used needed about 1/4 to 1/3 cup more flour, and I used chick pea flour so as not to take away the flavor.

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Using a slotted spoon, turn them over and fry on other side for about 5-6 minutes and then drain on a paper towel.

Serve with a cucumber and yogurt salad-falafel 053

And dip into the sauce of your choice-  I like tahini and yogurt- but you could use a baba ganoush or hummus dip or even a curry flavored sauce.

falafel 057 Whatever you dip them in- or even if you eat them plain, they are wonderful.

Getting ready-making falafel and other stuff- including a recipe.

I’ve been cleaning and baking and searching out toys.

Going through boxes of books and choosing the most interesting.

Making homemade noodles and preparing falafel and scrubbing out toilets and sinks and bathtubs and sweeping and mopping.

Aidan and his parents are coming for a short visit!

I don’t clean Jordan’s bathroom unless he has to share it.

I’m not sure how often he cleans it, but it gets a thorough job when his brother comes to visit.  (Luke, that is just one more reason why you should come more often!) 

I was going to buy falafel at Alladin’s when Ally and Aiden and I went.

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But I had such a good time watching him work on a lemon slice that I forgot to order them until we were almost done eating.  So I figured I’d make them myself.


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Isn’t this the cutest thing you’ve seen today?! 

But back to the making of falafels.

Because this is some real serious business. 

Lately, all I want to eat are falafels.  I LOVE GARBANZO BEANS!

And so does Aidan- so I’m making the falafel for him!  And me.

I promised you a recipe.  So here goes.


Chickpeas- (or garbanzo beans) 16 oz. canOR

about 2 cups dried beans that you have soaked overnight.

If you are using the dried beans- you will need to drain them and put into fresh water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for an hour.  Drain and cool for 15 minutes.

Reserve liquid from beans

1 clove garlic -chopped

1 onion-chopped

a handful of fresh parsley, chopped=1/3 cup

1 tsp coriander, ground

1 tsp cumin,ground

2 TBS flour

salt and pepper to taste

oil for frying


Combine all ingredients, except oil, in food processor.

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Process until it is ground fine.

You may need to add a little of the liquid from the beans.  Add 1/4 cup at a time- you don’t want this to be runny- you are looking for a thick paste.

falafel 026 keep processing- not smooth enough.

falafel 027 It should look like this when it is ready to be fried in oil.  I’m sorry – I don’t have a picture of them fried yet!   The batter is sitting in my refrigerator waiting for the hot finale!

BUT- I won’t leave you here, I promise.

Make the batter into ping pong size balls and flatten slightly and then fry in about 2 inches of oil at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes.

I will post pictures of the finished falafel, if they aren’t eaten up too quickly!

I’ve got to go- I went into the kitchen to grab my list of ingredients and I realized that I went upstairs to get dressed after making whole wheat bread dough and the batter for falafel, and I got distracted into cleaning the bathroom.

My kitchen is a disaster!  Pots and pans and cups and knives all over the place.

So, I’ll try to get up some pictures later.