This Week ~ The Yes and Amen of God’s Promise

This week is obviously of major significance in the life of the church and has profound implications for all creation. 

It is during this week that Jesus enters Jerusalem as a triumphant King, weeps over Jerusalem, inspects the temple for the second time and condemns it, and prophecies the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70). 

During this week he deals with the disciples’ arguments over who is the greatest, he washes his disciples’ feet, he identifies his betrayer, institutes the Lord’s Supper, gives the commandment of love, predicts Peter’s denial and gives some of his major discourses (the Olivet Discourse and the Upper Room Discourse).
It is in this week that he prays his high priestly prayer in Gethsemane, and is betrayed by Judas Iscariot and is arrested. 

He is brought before Annas and Caiaphas who declares that it is expedient that one man should die for the people. 

He is abused through the night, is denied by Peter three times, and is formally condemned by the Sanhedrin. 

Judas commits suicide. 

Jesus is tried before Pontius Pilate and Herod, is scourged and mocked by the Romans, and hears his own people cry out for his crucifixion. 

Pilate gives him over to be crucified, setting the criminal Barabbas free. He is led away to be crucified.
Jesus is crucified, dies, and is buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea with the help of Nicodemus (from John 3) – this is Friday. He will lay in that tome until Sunday when he is discovered to have been raised from the dead.
The events of this week are the crescendo, not only of Jesus’ life and ministry, but of the entire history of everything up to this point, and bring into reality and fulfillment all of the promises of God.

~From Rob’s sermon on Palm Sunday

Be Encouraged

As I am sitting here I have no idea what the final tally will be from today’s primaries.

I have friends who are accepting and dealing with difficult news.

Still other friend’s are grieving the loss of beloved grandparents.

The wife of my parent’s pastor is dealing with aggressive cancer and not for the first time.

There are friends who are dealing everyday with whether or not they can take just one more step…bear one more burden…pay one more bill…face one more crisis…handle one more change.

It’s big things and small things.

It’s life and it gets messy and it can hit hard.

And sometimes we think we can’t really say anything because it seems our struggle isn’t as big as someone else’s.

But be encouraged, friend, right where you are. Right where God has placed you…called you.

“Take heart: your struggle is no less noble simply because no drum beats before you when you go out into your daily battlefields, or because no crowds shout about your coming when you return from your daily victory or defeat.” Robert Lewis Stevenson

Stay faithful, friend. Because He is faithful in both the big and small.

About That Tiara

It was really nice getting such positive feedback on part one of my Four Seasons project. I almost ditched every picture from the Tea With Lady Winter session though because I was second guessing and questioning what in the world I had done. Not only was I trying to push myself outside of my comfort zone but I was breaking every white balance rule known to man while I did it. The pictures looked odd to me but at the same time it was because I hadn’t gone by the rules that I was (hopefully) able to create a sense of winter which is not so easy to do in Florida 🙂

One of the questions that I’ve been asked the most is whether I will do the other seasons anytime soon or wait and do them through out the year. The answer is that I will be doing this as a year long project and will wait until we are solidly in the midst of each season before I shoot the other girls. Even though our winter here in the south doesn’t come with snow it does have a different kind of light…it’s cooler (hence the jacked up white balance in Em’s pictures) than the warmer tones you get in the other seasons. It all has a lot to do with the position of the sun and the way light just works at different times of the year.

The other comment that came up a bunch was the crown Emily was wearing. And while her pictures were probably the hardest ones I’ll shoot in this project that tiara was absolutely the easiest thing in the world to make. I have a secret pinterest board (But of course!) for this project where I put ideas and I loved the look of that particular head piece when I saw it months ago.

Literally took her five minutes to put it together.

Maybe a little longer since the cats were vastly entertained and curious about the shiny pipe cleaners.

First, she took two piper cleaners and twisted the ends together forming a circle.

Once she had the base and rescued it back from Tom who pounced on the sparkle the minute she held it up for a picture…

She was able to start adding the taller parts using pipe cleaners cut to various sizes. All she had to do was simply twist the ends around the base. Easy peasy!

I want to give another shout out to my friend Jessica at Wake Up Make Up for doing Em’s make up. She saw the look I was going for and made it even better. And I love, love, love those frosty eyebrows! You should really go check out her blog…it’s not just about make up but also decorating and right now she has the cutest post up about her youngest son’s lumberjack birthday party.

Sundays With Sarah 2 ~ Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

When I was growing up my Mother made Sunday dinner and we ate it after coming home from church. It was the traditional fried chicken or pot roast kind of fare (which I still dearly love) and that was it for the day. After that big ol’ lunch she didn’t cook again.

Even though we eat at church every week I have pretty much followed the tradition of letting Sunday be a whatever night. Which has worked out great since Sarah has started cooking on Sunday evenings. We love it. We’re spoiled by it. We’ve become accustomed to it. And she’s on spring break in the great Northwest having a grand old time and we’re eating eggs for dinner. I wish you could have seen the look on Em’s face when she realized we were on our own for dinner. I think she misses her big sister a little more than she was before. I know I am!

I still have a recipe to share from a previous dinner though. We love Brussels sprouts in our house and they are kind of a staple. On special occasions I will roast them with apples and bacon. They’re also a quick and tasty veggie for me to steam for lunch. Sarah’s dish roasts them with a balsamic reduction and brown sugar and there really just wasn’t enough. We all wanted more so I think we’ll be doing this recipe again. (The original recipe has a link to a reduction recipe Sarah made.)

What you’ll need:
1 1/2 pounds of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut lengthwise
2 TBS olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup balsamic reduction glaze
1 TBS light brown sugar
What you’ll do:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt and pepper until well coated.
Arrange sprouts on a foil covered baking sheet, cut side down.
Bake for about 18 minutes or until tops begin to brown.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip sprouts over.
Drizzle the balsamic reduction evenly over the sprouts.
Give each Brussels sprout a tiny pinch of brown sugar.
Return the baking sheet to the oven and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Keep a close eye on them so that they don’t over cook as the sugar will help with the caramelization.

Serve immediately and have seconds!

Remember my egg photographing obsession? I think Brussels sprouts are right up there too with their pretty shades of green and lovely textures.

Tea With Lady Winter

Brittle and unyielding with nothing to soften her edges.
Winter is like the grand Lady who partakes of her tea on the edge of her seat keeping all of the rules.
No promise found like in the hope of Spring.
Fiercely rigid she lacks the impetuousness of the summer heat.
Pensive as she sweeps across the earth, austerely grieving the death of autumn’s boisterous colors. 
Until, alone and spent, she drops her frigid crown and curves in on herself and waits.

Well Informed Insanity

Various favorite quotes from friends and others around the www this week.

Upon hearing Trump say he is audited by the IRS because he is such a strong Christian ~

“And my eyes rolled so far back in my head that I could see my brain cells imploding from the insanity of it all” ~ Becky Johnson. 

There is no better reaction to such a ridiculous statement than hers.

From a letter my friend Susan penned to Senator Jeff Sessions after he endorsed the Donald ~
“Your endorsement of Drumpf at yesterday’s rally was garbled, I assume from chocking on your honer in lending your name to such a morally deficient and leightweight speller such as Drumpf. Did your cheeks burn when you heard he tweeted a Mussolini quote?”  

Ouch! I love how she used Trump’s own misspellings to further emphasize her point.  Chocking on your honer indeed.

There has been no shortage of memes this morning after Chris Christie’s pitiful why-is-my-world-on-fire-somebody-please-help-me look last night. My favorite tweet accompanying the picture was someone announcing a kick starter campaign to buy back Christie’s dignity.

Google searches for “how to move to Canada” spiked after the results of Super Tuesday were in.

And I really liked this cartoon:

It really is mind-boggling. Just, literally, unbelievable. But then I also saw this quote and it explains so much of why we are where we are.

“The first question with regard to the problem of culture is not the state of the world but the condition of the church.” ~Martin Lloyd-Jones

Should we be surprised that a man such as Trump has garnered the support of many evangelicals when for years the Gospel and what it truly means to live as Christ has been diluted down to an unrecognizable pale facsimile that is tasteless and ineffective?

Contentment and living within your means was given over to the American dream of having it all so the greed of Donald Trump does not phase us.

We have equated course talk with wit and sarcasm with intellect. No wonder his crude and unkind speech doesn’t give us pause.

His lack of faithfulness and honor in his relationships should be reprehensible only it’s not. Probably because relationships and marriages within the Church don’t look very different from those conducted outside of the Church.

His ability to talk and say nothing at all and yet cause people to shake their head in agreement as if pearls of wisdom have dripped from his lips is the political version of what is said from a lot of pulpits these days. It’s a tickling of ears and it’s what we have crafted for ourselves, demanded even, so that we can do our time each week and only feel slightly bad over the life we lead the other six days.

The other side of course doesn’t look any better. I mean, it’s Hillary. I don’t really need to say more, do I?

So what to do?

For many, it is panic mode time. Batten down the hatches, children, because the sky is about to fall and the world, the whole world mind you, not just ‘Merica, is about to explode. God is on His way to deal with this mess we’ve made and boy, is He mad!

Another quote I came across makes a beautiful counter argument for those who are wanting to give into fear.

“Fear is a good motivation to get people to finally do something. Fear is a poor motivation to get people to finally do something right.” ~ Thomas MacAnn

No matter how hopelessly idiotically ridiculous our country’s situation may look we are not a people that should be motivated by fear. George Grant, who posted the MacAnn quote also shared, “Lord have mercy. Church have courage.”

Have courage! God still sits on His throne and laughs, and my goodness is there much to laugh at!

Dr. Grant also shared this from Al Mohler ~ “As Christians wake up this morning, one thing is clear: we’re going to have to spend a great deal of time thinking and praying together about what faithfulness will look like in a way we never have before in terms of recent American presidential cycles. We’re also about to find out if Biblically-minded Christians are up to that task.”

This is far from over. But we need to be very careful how we move forward unless we find ourselves being used as weapons in the hand of the enemy.