Sunday, July 22, 2007

Finding Grace

This is a quote from a heartbreaking video on Aids.

"Sometimes, in an effort to remind people of the cost of the Cross, we withhold grace until we're sure they understand their sin.

"But it's in the giving of our grace that we remind people that they need to go to Jesus to find their own. People understand their sin without our help. It's grace they need help understanding."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

This morning in the garden

Food Crush

I LOVE Food TV! It's one of my guilty little secrets. Daniel and I often watch Iron Chef America before going to bed. As a confirmed Foodie, I find I love to try out the simple, FAST ideas I see executed in Kitchen Stadium. I love fresh and fast.

Now I do like Bobby, with all his southern charm, and Iron Chef America is on at a time of day where I don't feel guilty turning on the tube, but my ultimate Food Crush is Jamie Oliver.

I don't know what it is, but I swoon at his cooking, his garden, his cute accent, and the amazing fresh food he throws together in his outdoor kitchen! I love the's glorious in design...a beauty and a wonder to behold. (OK, maybe I've gone a little far, but honestly don't you agree? It's all about the SHOW ladies... after all Jamie is a child...he kind of makes me think of my son Nialle, another Food Nerd, if HE had a TV show)

So, last night, after working HARD all day, we were famished. We have been living outside, where it's shady, cool and comfy. We come in the house only to sleep and shower on the days when Daniels off. Fresh is THE only way to go, and Jamie *sigh* had cooked up a beautiful fresh roasted tomato and sausage and fresh herb concoction ( yumm!) in his outdoor kitchen on the previous day. (I was right THERE people, living vicariously through the boy!)

Daniel loves the show too, and so when it was supper time, off we went to get fresh Italian sausage, some baby zucchini, and a great crusty loaf. Fresh basil, fresh tomatoes from the garden, a nice fruity olive oil, sea salt, lots of whole garlic cloves...and a little balsamic vinegar to finish it was HEAVEN!!
What a brilliant way to end a magnificent day!

Made in the Shade

My shady backyard garden was in sore need of some TLC. This is what we did yesterday...

This is a simple way to clean up and keep weeds out of an area where I don't really grow anything. The wood chips look a little garish at first, but they do mellow to a nice earthy grey in a year or so.

The boys helped out, and this scarecrow-ish looking chap spread the chips out after Levi shoveled and delivered them by the wheelbarrow load.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Learn about Herbal wonders

Check out this blog. It's my friend Diane's, who is also the "Grandma Farm" of my sweet Grandson Liam.
She is learning and practicing the Herbal Arts and is really a wealth of information. She has a really wonderful family too, and I consider her somewhat of an expert on that subject too!

Good wine, good cheese, and turning the other cheek

Speaking of learning how to live my faith from others who may not share my beliefs....check this out! I wonder what would have happened if the guests were drinking really bad wine?

Faith matters

Donald Miller says in "Blue Like Jazz" that you never really question your beliefs till you have to explain them to a skeptic.
As far as my faith is concerned, the journey is to have my actions line up closer to my stated ideal, that being to be more Christ like.
I continue trying to improve while understanding that I can never achieve anything near perfection. While I can and do learn how to be more like the ideal from people of many faiths that I encounter on the journey, I know that only by measuring myself against the standard of Christ will I truly grow.
I also realize I can't achieve my ideal at all! It's impossible for me to become...good deserve God's Grace. It is impossible for anyone. All my good works can't gain me His love, or salvation. That is a free gift, available to all. What an empty life it is to chase the approval of man, judged by man...subject to man's interpretation of my worth. Better to trust His Grace.

Ephesians 2:7-9 (New International Version) order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Romans 3:24

and all need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:21

Sin once used death to rule us, but God gave people more of his grace so that grace could rule by making people right with him. And this brings life forever through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Galations 2:21

By saying these things I am not going against God's grace. Just the opposite, if the law could make us right with God, then Christ's death would be useless.

"The unanswered questions aren't nearly as dangerous as the unquestioned answers."

Friday, July 06, 2007

Passion equals Mission

You know how some people just have an almost obsessive love for something, and they live and breath it from the time they are children, passionately pursuing it and becoming an expert in their chosen field just because it touches something in their hearts?

What if that love is put on hold, set aside, dismissed, for more "important" things, like multiplication tables or parts of speech, and the precious season for Love of Learning is squandered in favour of the mundane and the ordinary?

What if we all lose because a child somewhere is forced, or shamed into giving up that love for more "important" things like grammar, or ringette? (Not that I think any of these are not worthwhile pursuits, in their proper season and place!)

Do you believe that could happen?

Have you ever had a passion that you were convinced to set aside in order to follow a schedule that someone else deems more important?

Just asking. Because when I saw the following, I wondered...What if Bart Weetjens Mom had told him "No hamster will ever live in this house!"? What if he were completely shut down in his desire to form relationships with rodents? What if he were instead forced to channel all his free time into vicariously fulfilling his parent's dreams, like, say, being coerced to attempt to become a concert violinist or a movie star?

For example, look at this "Hero Rats" project run by this Belgian researcher in Tanzania. He's been a rodent-lover since childhood, and has turned that love to training African giant pouched rats to sniff out land mines! These rats are BIG, and they're so cute, they live around 8 years and are super trainable. Did you know that a landmine explodes somewhere in the world about once an hour? And Africa has more than anywhere else. So these rats go out on leashes and sniff out mines and scratch the ground!!! And they're almost always right. I love it! Weetjens, the researcher, is now training rats to sniff out tuberculosis. Check out this: a human lab technician can test about 20 samples for TB in a day; a rat can sniff about 2000. You can watch that segment here.

This story demonstrates to me in a very powerful way that when a child shows a deep, unshakable desire to really LOVE something, to LEARN about something, even when it's something that repulses others, we may do ourselves and mankind in general, a huge service if we facilitate that passion.

The video explains that Bart was inspired by a boyhood passion, and took a chance..and for years he was laughed at, and refused funding. When asked why he continued, in the face of so much opposition he says, " Well, the reason was clear. Obvious. I dreamed of a better world. As long as these landmines are there, the people just cannot build a normal life."

And he is building a better world...WITH RATS!!

THAT 'S what Thomas Jefferson Education is all about...facilitating a love of learning, and facilitating a fulfillment of each individuals personal passion and mission.

As John Taylor Gatto says, "Genius is as common as dirt".

Everybody has their passion, genius, and I believe, special mission they are meant to fulfill.

Even if no one else understands. Even if it involves a passion for the most unloved critters on the planet. Maybe especially then.