Friday, October 24, 2014

Recently-tried Recipes

Here are some recipes I've tried recently and enjoyed. Thought you might like them too!

1) Faux "Orange Julius": This was very like its namesake. A delicious weekend breakfast treat.

2) Chilled Black Bean, Feta, and Cucumber Salad: a nice, healthy summer lunch.

3) Tex-Mex Chopped Salad: oh, this was so good. A party in your mouth. And a perfectly delightful dinner.

4) Greek Pasta Salad: Yummy, again. (If you haven't caught on yet, I only link to recipes I liked.) This was one that was stellar the first day, but even better the next.

Also, for what it's worth, I added a can of cooked chicken, just to up the protein content for my six-person family.

5) Garlicky Baked Shrimp: I actually made this with a frozen seafood mix from Trader Joe's - so I had more than just shrimp. Despite that, it turned out really well. I liked the crunchy topping, and the convenience of baking the seafood instead of sautéing it.

Let me know if there's any good recipes you've tried recently - I love getting new ideas for dinner!

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Notes: "Attachments", by Rainbow Rowell

I am a sucker for epistolatory novels. I have been ever since I read the classics "Daddy Long Legs" and "Dear Enemy".

So, when my sister-in-law recommended Rainbow Rowell, and I saw that Rainbow Rowell had written an epistolatory novel, I signed right up.

I didn't even care when, a few chapters into Attachments, the epistles in question turned incredibly (and I mean that: I didn't credit it anymore) narrative.

I was already hooked on the story.

"Attachments" is a novel that alternates between the point of view of Lincoln, the technician hired to monitor a large newspaper's staff email system, and the emails of Jennifer and Beth, who both work at said newspaper.

Lincoln slowly falls in love with Beth, solely through reading her emails. Meanwhile, Beth is slowly developing a crush on the guy she occasionally sees around the office - but has never actually met.

Basically, it's a romantic comedy - and I mean the comedy part: I laughed out loud frequently. Not heartily, but frequently. :)

I really enjoyed this. Cautions for a bit of language, and secular sexual ethics. But it reallyis  a lovely little read.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. (See full disclosure on sidebar of my blog.)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Crocheted Finished Object: Altar Cloth for the Credence Table

Or maybe I should call it the Credence Table Tablecloth?  A little repetitive, that.
This was really a labor of love.

But so little labor, really, at least in terms of tiresome labor. The pattern was simple and pleasant to work, and the work itself joyous.

Someday, I want to make something better, something that uses actual Christian symbols (crosses, etc.) in the lacework, but for now, this covers a rather beat-up table that our little church plant is using out of necessity, and adds a bit of beauty to our weekly worship.  I'm so happy I got to do my little bit here.

The idea of the church-members working with their hands to deck the church is a concept I love, and one I think that goes back to the making of the tabernacle. Someday, I'd love to see a needleworker's guild at our church, to work alongside the Altar Guild.

But here's a bit of a start. I'm so happy with it.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Libation for St. Luke

Today, October 18, is St. Luke's Day, and I have a drink for you in celebration of the feast day!

Now, I fully admit that the origin of this drink is a little silly - okay, more than a little silly: the origin of this drink is a pun.

St. Luke is sometimes referred to as "Luke the physician". So he's a doctor. And he lived during the days of the Roman Empire.

The drink is a rum & Dr. Pepper. (Like a rum & Coke, but oh-so-much better.)

A rum'n'doctor.

A Roman doctor.


I know, I know, I'm so sorry.

BUT. If you do want to raise a toast to St. Luke in all sincerity, and you'd like to use a punny drink to do so, here's how you make a St. Luke:

To make a "St. Luke":
-1 can Dr. Pepper

-1 oz. rum

Mix and enjoy! (Responsibly, as a legal adult, etc.)

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica snell

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Book Notes: "The Sword Bearer" by John White

I've written about the other Anthropos books by John White here and here.

This one is a little different. The Anthropos books are Christian children's fantasy. And if the first few are a sort of allegories of the New Testament, this one is definitely an allegory of the old.

And as such, it's darker. Darker, and harder to read.

Nonetheless, despite the darkness, and despite the frustrating obtuseness of John, our protagonist, who is constantly choosing to be stubborn and wrong and stupid in the face of choices for goodness and mercy and right, this is a good book. (In fact, the truth is that John's stupid stubborness is all-too-recognizable-and-familiar, at least to this reader.)

I've been reading this book to my children in the evening, before our prayer and Bible reading. They draw or play with magnet sets while they listen to the story. And this book has inspired a lot of drawings. It's that kind of very visual fantasy world - easy to picture and to sink into.

And I guess I have to go back on what I said a bit: it's not all Old Testament allegory. A big part of the plot, especially in the beginning of the book, revolves around "the wine of free pardon".   I loved the inclusion of this simple analogy to the Eucharist. It means even more to me now than it did as a kid.

I guess the highest praise I can offer to this book is this: my son, Gamgee, swears that he dislikes this book when we're not in the middle of reading it, yet every time I picked it up and read another chapter, he was open-mouthed, caught up in the suspense of what's-going-to-happen-next, and eager as any of his sisters to hear how things would go for Jon, and Mab, and everyone else on the island.

This is a great read-aloud. I loved it when I was young, and I'm happy to say that now, as an adult, my kids love it too.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. (See full disclosure on sidebar of my blog.)

Monday, October 13, 2014

scripture memorization as a type of copywork

Recently, in one of her blog posts, Melissa Wiley talked about the idea of daily doodling being "just another kind of copywork"

And aside from making me pull out my sketchbook again (no, really), it made me think about why people - artists, speakers, etc. - have classically trained by copying the greats. It's not an unusual idea, historically, to learn your craft by aping your betters. Now we might call it plagiarism - and it would be if you didn't give the person you were copying from credit - but it's not such a bad idea to learn what you want to learn by scrupulously copying folks who are really, really good at it. Yes, eventually you strike out on your own, and find your own new ideas and your own new ways, but you learn the method by copying the greats.

Think about it; it makes sense:

If you copy good writing, your brain and your hands get to experience what it feels like to write great words.

If you copy good painting, your brain and your hands get to experience what it's like to paint great work

And . . . if you memorize scripture, your brain and your heart get to experience what it is like to think like the great men of God who were directly inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Think about that. It's amazing! But anyone who has taken the time to sit and memorize scripture can tell you that it's true: if you memorize God's word, you will think in the patterns dictated by the Holy Spirit.

Read the Psalms through monthly, like monks do, and you will find yourself thinking along those lines whenever you hit a time of anxiety or stress or joy. "Blessed be the Lord!" you will hear yourself think, "who has not given us as a prey to their teeth!"

It will astonish you when it begins to happen. "Where did that come from?" you will wonder. But there it will be: the words of God, echoing in your own sinful head.

It's absolutely amazing. It's such a gift.

It's why we memorize scripture.

Because these rhythms of grace don't come naturally. But the lovely, stupid, pattern-loving structures of our very human brains thrive on memorization. They love repetition.

Like Chesterton says, it's that very childlike joy of "Do it again! Oh, do it again!" that lives down deep in our human brains.

And if your brain yells "do it again! say it again!" to the rhythms of scripture? Then you're that much further ahead when the Holy Spirit has something for you to hear.

The patterns of His own speech, His words, will already be there in your head.

It's just good training. It's just following the basic principles of good training.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Weekend Links: Letters, gospels, and more

"Pastor Saeed's Letter to His Daughter Rebekka":
I know that you question why you have prayed so many times for my return and yet I am not home yet. Now there is a big WHY In your mind you are asking: WHY Jesus isn’t answering your prayers and the prayers of all of the people around the world praying for my release and for me to be home with you and our family.
"The Gospel, the Gospels and Rome - Where Do We Draw the Line?": Such a nice, long, chewy article.

"The Food Lab: Make Your Own Just-Add-Hot-Water Instant Noodles (and Make Your Coworkers Jealous)":  My husband and I are determined to give this a try. It's exactly the kind of food we love eating and - portable! cool!

"Healthy Pumpkin Spiced Coffee":  And this one is cool because you can make the pumpkin-milk base ad keep it in the fridge for a few days. Mmmmmm . . . .