Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Sovereign Protector I Have

This mellow melody gets me every time. This is definitely a hymn that leads me to want to choose faith over fear in my daily walk, as it focuses on God's powerful and present hand over my life. He will not forsake even one of His children, and will more than provide for my needs in any trial, circumstance, or season. This hymn also reminds me of the goal of the Christian faith - joy in God which will one day culminate in dwelling in His presence in heaven (If Thou art my Shield and my Sun, the night is no darkness to me and And fast as my moments roll on, they bring me but nearer to Thee). Hmm, I'm also noticing an unintentional Shepherd theme running throughout these hymns so far (here and here).

A Sovereign Protector I Have
Words: Augustus Toplady (1740-1778)
Music: Trewen, David Evans (1843-1914)

A Sov’reign Protector I have,
Unseen, yet forever at hand,
Unchangeably faithful to save,
Almighty to rule and command.
He smiles, and my comforts abound;
His grace as the dew shall descend;
And walls of salvation surround
The soul He delights to defend.
Inspirer and Hearer of prayer,
Thou Shepherd and Guardian of Thine,
My all to Thy covenant care
I sleeping and waking resign.
If Thou art my Shield and my Sun,
The night is no darkness to me;
And fast as my moments roll on,
They bring me but nearer to Thee.

Kind Author, and ground of my hope,
Thee, Thee, for my God I avow;
My glad Ebenezer set up,
And own Thou hast helped me till now.
I muse on the years that are past,
Wherein my defense Thou hast proved;
Nor wilt Thou relinquish at last
A sinner so signally loved!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Best Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough...IMO!

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough - makes 2 large pizza crusts (A Heavenly Homemaker Recipe)
4.5 to 5 cups whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur Organic White Whole Wheat Flour)
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 2 pouches)
2 cups warm water (The water should feel warm to the touch, but  not burn your finger.)

Mix all ingredients together, knead for 3-4 minutes, then allow the dough to “rest” for about 10 minutes (give or take). I use a stand mixer for the mixing and kneading and the process is so easy! While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread into greased pans (I read that ungreased baking stones work too) and poke with a knife or fork several times to prevent the crust from bubbling up during baking. Bake at 375 degrees for about 5-7 minutes (every oven is different). Remove from oven, add sauce and toppings and bake for another 5-10 minutes (again, every oven is different!) until crust looks golden brown.

Tonight we're topping this crust with this Alfredo sauce and bacon. Definitely not a low fat meal, but as we use healthy fats in cooking and eat high fat meals in moderation (along with lots of fruits and veggies), I don't feel a bit guilty!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The King of Love

Here is a second hymn that's been on my mind. Funnily enough like the previous hymn this hymn is also based on Psalm 23. I've especially been loving verses 3 & 4.

The King of Love 
Henry W. Baker (1821-1877)
Columbia Tune

The King of love my Shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never,
I nothing lack if I am His
And He is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow
My ransomed soul He leadeth,
And where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love He sought me,
And on His shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing, brought me.

In death’s dark vale I fear no ill
With Thee, dear Lord, beside me;
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
Thy cross before to guide me.

Thou spread’st a table in my sight;
Thy unction grace bestoweth;
And O what transport of delight
From Thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days
Thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise
Within Thy house forever.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need

It's been awhile since I've posted about a hymn or song I've been listening to lately. Right now I have about five or six that we sing at our church that have really been encouraging me lately. I love the literal content in these hymns - the focus on the Gospel, on the glories of Christ, on God's provision - and I also love the generally traditional melodies. My husband is slightly cooler than me, because he listens to Christian rap, mostly Shai Linne. I used to listen to Christian rap when I worked out in college and now...well, I don't work out. There you have it. (Although I just bought Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred and a Pilates DVD on Amazon so this may change.) I thought I might share what hymns have been circulating lately, in different posts.

This one is based on Psalm 23.  There is not much more that can be deeply comforting during the trials of life than knowing that "the sure provisions of my God attend me all my days", most profoundly displayed in the cross. Praise God for providing for my deepest need, forgiveness of sin, when Jesus suffered on the cross, and giving me the hope of eternal life with Him when He raised Jesus from the dead.

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

My Shepherd will supply my need; Jehovah is His name;
In pastures fresh He makes me feed, Beside the living stream.
He brings my wand'ring spirit back, When I forsake His ways;
And leads me, for His mercy's sake, In paths of truth and grace.

When I walk thro' the shades of death Thy presence is my stay;
One word of Thy supporting breath drives all my fears away.
Thy hand, in sight of all my foes, doth still my table spread;
My cup with blessings overflows, Thine oil anoints my head.

The sure provisions of my God attend me all my days;
O may Thy house by my abode, and all my work by praise.
There would I find a settled rest, while others go and come;
No more a stranger, nor a guest, but like a child at home.

Mystery Illness - Solved!

I mentioned in a previous post or two about being sick. It started in early April right as everything began blooming around here. At first I thought it was a sinus virus, then I thought it was seasonal allergies, then after a lot of second guessing, we figured out that my allergy to mold was the culprit. Something similar happened twice in college, so we finally pieced it together. The worst part was severe throat pain that required me to alternate between Tylenol and Motrin every 3 hours just to be able to eat a meal or sleep at night. Not fun. A Medrol Dose pack finally broke that 3 week cycle but I continued to have throat pain on and off and also sinus issues.

The Lord is kind, however, and after a lot of back and forth with my husband about what we could do (as we are renting and under a landlord) we contacted our landlord a second time (after editing an email draft, and rewording, and editing some more) and he agreed to have mold inspections done and then ultimately, after inspection had mold remediation done in the attic and basement. I'm sure he dropped a pretty penny on having all of that done for us (I'm sure at least a few grand). I am so grateful to have a landlord that takes care of us. He really tries to make the house as nice as possible for us, which is quite different from the stereotypical landlord that just wants to fix things cheaply and not necessarily well. The Lord has been kind to take care of us in this way, as we had no idea what kind of landlord we would have when we signed the lease to rent this house back in Oklahoma, having never seen the house let alone met the landlord.

So the story has a happy ending. Tonight we will (hopefully permanently) move back into our master bedroom. Back in April we stopped sleeping in there consistently as it made my symptoms worse due to proximity to the mold affected areas. We have been sleeping mostly on an air mattress in our guest room. I have actually been sleeping great on this air mattress (thanks Mom for the awesome air mattress you gave us before we moved!). The mold remediation was completed last Thursday, and then starting yesterday I have been diffusing essential oils in our master bedroom that are highly effective at killing airborne mold spores. (This is my first time diffusing essential oils, it makes me feel kinda crunchy.)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

April showers bring May...visitors?

We had a whirlwind of a month at our house! That's why my blog has been virtually silent. After the family wedding in Columbus, OH, we welcomed my sister and niece to our house the very next day, followed by some male guests that were in town for a conference, followed by a 10 day visit from Grandma Peggy (my mom) from Oklahoma. If April was spent being sick and doing...nothing, May was spent around lots of family, eating lots of good food (eating's more fun with company!), and doing lots of sightseeing.

Cousin Ellie and Bram enjoying being backseat buddies

Enjoying a walk in the neighborhood during some strange chilly May weather

Playing together

Our first trip to the National Zoo with Grandma, too

Tigers, oh my!

Spent a night at Ocean City MD with Grandma

First experience with sand

It was beautiful on the beach, but cold, so we didn't get in the ocean much

Our hotel had an awesome kiddie pool, this is just the shallow end

Abram and my mom enjoying lunch on our hotel balcony

Bram enjoying the lambs at Mount Vernon

Checking out the vegetable gardens at Mount Vernon

Pausing for a quick pic with Grandma before out Mount Vernon house tour

Looking out towards the Potomac from a Mount Vernon walkway

And if Mount Vernon wasn't enough Presidential we are at Jefferson's beautiful house, Monticello!

Such striking architecture

Beautiful gardens at Monticello

Taking time to stop and smell the...purple flowers (don't ask me what they are)

Taking a moment during our day trip to Monticello to be goofy

Me and my boy resting on the back lawn on the Monticello estate

Love that toddler squat

Jon says, "Son, someday all this will be yours".

Last night with Grandma we went on a walk in our neighborhood and found a freshly carved tribute to Jim Henson. It's not easy being...wooden!