Archive for October, 2012

A Recipe From My 5-year-old Friend, Isaac B.

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Our friends departed yesterday in the midst of the flurry of three little boys not wanting to leave the teepee their dad and Jeff built for them on our property and tremendously not interested in gathering up socks and jackets for Mom to pack into the motor home.  It was a wonderful visit and only one pair of tiny Star Wars briefs was left behind. We think. 

Success all around!

But before they left, their kindergarten-age son, Isaac, shared his original Scrambled Quesadilla Recipe, which I think is good enough for all of you to give it a try:

ISAAC B.’s SCRAMBLED QUESADILLA RECIPE THAT HE MADE UP

First, you have to get some tortillas and then cut them up, like into strips.  If they get hot and cooked they turn kind of brown, so that’s good. And then you crack eggs and pour them into a bowl.  Then you mix them up with a spoon or something and then you put them into a hot pan.  It’s hot because it’s on the oven.  Sometimes you call it a stovetop.  You don’t have any pepperdeau* so you have to use salt and pepper.  If you find pepperdeau you can use it, OK?  Then you just pour the eggs in.  There are two more things that needed to be added.  Remember to put all of this on the stovetop pan.  Then you put cheese, as much as you want, like two handfuls.  Then two scoops at least of salsa.  You eat it with a fork, but not with your hands. 

*pepperdeau is a spice you buy in Mozambique

Thank you, Isaac!  Sometimes I just don’t know what to cook for dinner and this will help me.  And a note to your big brother, Aidan:  I just have to tell you, Jeff says you are probably one of the best teepee builders he’s ever known.  You did a great job of helping all of the sticks stay propped up!  We were both surprised at how strong you both are! You and Isaac (and even little Ethan) did an awesome job of clearing out the inside, and for sure Jeff will call you guys for advice if he needs to ever build another one. 

I invite my readers to comment if they try Isaac’s recipe. I think it’s a winner.

The Joys Of Visitors From Good Times Past

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

Jeff and I were blessed this weekend with a brief visit from our missionary friends, who serve the Lord Jesus in Mozambique, supporting the translation of the Word into the indigenous languages of the people there, and are now half way into a year-long furlough.

It’s been a long time since our house was filled with children, and their three little boys injected some serious joy and excitement into these empty-nesters lives.  Jeff bought the kids swimsuits and bathtub boys, turned the Jacuzzi down to 90, and had them whooping and hollering late into the night while he and Eric caught up on their lives.  Joan and I, never ones to interfere with male bonding, stole away to Gnosh.  The place was abuzz with activity, but, as is so often the case with a dear friend, we found ourselves in our own little world, calmed and eased by each other’s presence and equally stirred up and passionate about what’s been going on in our lives. 

It was a wonderful dinner — falafel with a dill aioli for the appetizer, wine for me, salmon for both of us, and, as a testimony to how much we have in common, lemon creme brulee’, doubled, for dessert.  A stroll downtown to Sisters’ Brew and a shot of strong coffee wrapped up our evening out.  The boys — adult ones included — had tuckered out, and Joan and I were tired, too. 

A few hours of pouring our hearts out to each other can have that effect.  But, as any of you who’ve enjoyed time with an old friend, someone you love even though you see her only once every several years, understands, what tires  the body energizes the soul.  Joan is one of the most remarkable women I’ve ever known, and I’ll admit that, as they prepare to head out for a visit with friends in the Boise area, I’ll have one of those stern, yearning talks with my God about how it is that the people who really understand me, who really love me, and who can say the hard things to me –  like Joan, Lupita, and Tricia — are so far away.  Snohomish, Washington, sometimes feels as far away as Ciudad Juarez and Nampala in Mozambique, and particularly now, it’s hard.

But a heart filled with gratitude for Joan is a heart able to expand through time and space with love for her.  I know she feels the same.  So, as we start to say our goodbyes this morning, the tears I’ll shed will be not only because my friend is going away again, but because I have in Joan a friend who, across the continents and throughout a decade and a half, has proved faithful — faithful to the Lord Jesus, faithful to her family, and faithful to me, a friend who, as remarkable as this may sound, is vastly, terrifically, imperfect.

Loving, loyal, steadfast . . . and stubborn, strident, and lunkheaded.  But she loves me; in loving me, and in liking me, Joan has so many times shown me a glimpse of the love of God.  I’m in a time of real conflict these days, and this visit — this scent of the aroma of agape love in human bonds — is just what I needed. 

And isn’t that just like our God?  Cold, fresh water when I’m in the desert and soothing warmth and the laughter of little kids when I’m feeling cold and hardened.  Indeed, God is beyond good.  He’s my friend, and he’s the maker of my dearest friendships.

I’ve Really Got To Get A New Picture . . .

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

One of the talented young writers from the University of Idaho’s Women’s Center contacted me last month to see if she could interview me for the Center’s blog.

I was pleased to meet with her and explained, during the course of our hour together, the connections I see in the Bible that have lead me to fully embrace, as a Christian, the feminism of my non-Christian youth — not for the purpose of being a feminist, or a progressive, or a liberal, but to live a life more conformed to the nature of Jesus Christ and more in accord with the Scriptures.  I am, after all, not terribly concerned with just being a feminist, progressive, or liberal, but with being a mature disciple of the Lord Jesus.

Which leads me to clarify one thing in the UI article — the outspoken journalists were my dad and grandfather; the devoutly religious family referred to is my husband’s side, my in-laws, whom I love deeply, but who don’t share my views.

Of course, “deeply religious” could, I guess, refer to my family of origin, who revered Jesus as the Consummate Liberal and worshiped, pretty much, at the Democratic Party Temple.  At least, until my Dad’s conversion right around the turn of the last century, which was precipitated much more by his cancer diagnosis than from Y2K hysteria.  But the nominal Catholicism of my childhood paled in influence to the fervor of household liberal Democratic politics.  And while I remain generally to the left politically, it’s because of my understanding of what Jesus the Lord requires of me.  I have no regard at all for Jesus, The Consummate Liberal Democrat.

(Then there’s the issue of Jesus-of-the-Right-Wing, who I believe to be nothing at all like the Jesus of the Scriptures . . . )

New And Better Headline: Obama, Missed Opportunities, Fishbait, And Dickens

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Well, now that a newly-invigorated Mitt Romney has told us that he was flat out, completely, what-the-hell-was-I-thinking wrong about the 47 percent he had previously called “victims” who don’t take responsibility for their lives, and for whom he couldn’t possibly be bothered,  Barack Obama’s lamentable performance during the first presidential debate is even more grievous.

Clearly Mitt Romney is a political whore of the worst kind.  He won the debate; he won largely because he didn’t get called out on his despicable contempt for hard-working people who reap the rewards of their working lives by receiving Social Security, elderly folks who enjoy the security of Medicare, or poor people who need the social safety net their own taxes helped weave.

And so, having dodged the bullet, New Mitt has torn off the victory cape he’s worn for two days and has now donned his sackcloth and ashes, lugubriously mourning his previously hard heart and revealing a change of character rivaled only by Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

The Ghosts of Post-Debate Polls Present undoubtedly spurred his change of heart, and who is surprised?  Mitt Romney clearly has no moral core.  The moderate, even somewhat progressive Romney of a decade ago has morphed into a rabidly plutocratic Tea Party puppet who has shown that he’ll say anything to make the base happy, do anything to prove that he’s a Tea Party, varmint-huntin’ kinda regular guy, and do it with no conscience, regardless of the disastrous results that follow.  I call that whoring — not because he’s become more conservative, but because he’s become more of anything-any-audience-needs to hear.  I may disagree with conservatives, but genuine ones have my admiration.  Mitt is not a genuine anything other than a good-looking man.  That he holds his convictions with a loose hand extended to the highest bidder is what makes him a whore, and any American who votes for a man who can so easily heap vitriol on their neighbors and themselves while facing one audience — and then claim profound contrition when he’s escaped the challenge he deserves when facing another — ought to expect that he will sell or trade their security and well-being to the highest bidder.

That bidder won’t be bidding in your favor.  Trust me.  The American people will become bargaining chips for a dishonest man with a moral core as malleable as cooked linguine and a character as shallow as a slow-draining sink.  Sadly, a good number of people will bite at the bait he offers:  whatever his audience wants, he’ll give them. Mitt offers a heaping helping of Charlie’s Catfish Blood Bait, plump and wiggling worms, Little Willie flys, and anything else the teeming audience wants — and he doesn’t have to believe in it, or even have it to offer.  He doesn’t have to be reasonable, consistent, or thoughtful.  When Mitt Romney is in front of an audience, he simply tosses out whatever the masses want.

In that respect, Mitt Romney is not just a whore.  He’s a master baiter.

Mr. Obama, You’re On Now . . . Mr. Obama? Sir? Ummmm, Sir?

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

You’re the President of the United States, running against one of the most inept and shady candidates my generation has ever seen.

Your opponent has just maligned nearly half the country, wrongly and shamefully, as “victims” and “people who need to take responsibility for their lives,” and he seemingly can’t say “Good morning” without offending some constituency.  Your opponent, who gladly released two decades worth of tax returns to the GOP four years ago when he was under consideration for the vice presidency but refuses to give the electorate more than two years of reports, also socks his vast fortune away in Switzerland and the Caiman Islands.  He’s an out-of-touch plutocrat, a fawning brown-noser, and a man seemingly without even a hint of moral core or code whose positions change with dizzying frequency and are elucidated with no specifics.  He insists that your $716 billion SAVINGS in Medicare is a cut — and a cut to the program he wants to gut anyway — and is maddeningly squishy on details about his own plan, which you, as President, know would be a disaster not just for the elderly, but for the nation’s economy.

He is, in short, an election and debate opponent entirely unworthy of serious consideration for any office higher than member of a county fair board. You’re a brilliant Constitutional scholar, a gifted orator, and a good man with a demonstrably solid grasp of the issues at hand.

And you blew your one opportunity to seize the moment, set the agenda, state your points, and call this smirking cypher out on his flip, immoral, and politically stupid disregard of the Americans you serve.  You get two more debates — one on foreign policy, one in a town-hall forum — but you sat on your best stuff and muted your strongest points.   

Why?  You’ll still have my vote, as well as my fervent prayers that you be re-elected.  But I’m mystified that you didn’t go after what clearly needed going after.  I’m not just disappointed, but stunned.

Romney deserved your best.  So did your country.

Please do your best to show up for the next debate — not just looking good and smiling hard, but by tackling the myriad obstacles to common sense, justice, morality, and progress represented by your opponent.  You’re not dealing with an innocent; I don’t think you’re even dealing with a particularly decent man.  But you are a good man.

Who muzzled you, and why did you let them?