Birds of a Feather

Happy New Year! December 31, 2012

Filed under: Holiday — kcfeather @ 10:07 pm

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We “partied hard” a few nights ago at a wedding, and are thinking that tonight will be a bit more low key – stopping by a friend’s house before turning in early.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2013!

 

Advent: Week 4 December 25, 2012

Filed under: Holiday — kcfeather @ 5:34 pm

Christmas came right on the heels of the 4th Sunday of Advent this year – and in fact, we were celebrating Christmas on Sunday with C’s family out in the country.

In good ol’ East Texas fashion, we set a tree on fire. Literally. There was a dead tree on the land that needed to be gotten rid of, and the powers that be decided it made sense to kill two birds with one stone by making this dead tree the location of the family’s annual Christmas bonfire. The men piled up branches and other shrubs at the base of the tree earlier on Sunday, and then once the sun went down, we all went out and had a grand time watching the tree burn.

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The image of the tree catching fire of course recalls the story in Exodus 3 when Moses encounters God in the form of a burning bush. The Lord says to Moses:

I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

-Exodus 3:7-8

God saw their afflictions and heard their cries and knew their sufferings. And he did not just stand by, but he delivered them from their anguish, he freed them from their captivity.

What a beautiful foreshadowing of the coming of Christ into our world. God sent his son – our Savior, Jesus Christ – into this world because he saw our affliction, he heard our cries, and he knew our suffering. And ultimately, through Jesus’ life and death and resurrection, we are offered a deliverance even greater than the deliverance that came to the Israelites. A deliverance from the brokenness, the fear, and the hurt in this world. A deliverance to peace, to grace – and to life.

That is what we celebrate today, and that is the hope we cling to throughout the year.

Merry Christmas!

 

Advent: Week 3 December 17, 2012

Filed under: Holiday — kcfeather @ 4:00 pm

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We spent the third Sunday of Advent in airports and on airplanes, and so got lots of practice waiting. After a full morning and early afternoon of travel, we arrived in the Big Easy for a few days of fun (and lots of sleep) before heading to Dallas. Neither of us have been here before, but we are finding it to be a great city for exploring and wandering.

Last night, after checking in at our hotel but before dinner, we headed over to Jackson Square in the French Quarter, where we joined with many, many others for a good old-fashioned carol sing. From the Square, you can see the spires of the St. Louis Cathedral, so with all the candlelight it was really spectacular.

The Mayor, Mitch Landrieu, led the crowds in singing O Holy Night (not an easy song to sing well, but he did):

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

After the tragic news of Friday, the words rung so true – we are reminded of how weary we are, how weary our world is – and what great need we have of a Savior. Rejoicing in our weariness, what a strange concept. And yet, we believe that death will not have the final word. We look ahead to the new and glorious morn when Christ will come again and set all things new. And that indeed seems a reason to rejoice.

 

Advent: Week 2 December 10, 2012

Filed under: Holiday — kcfeather @ 7:40 pm

Last night at the Lessons and Carols Service at our church, we sang a new (Christmas?) hymn that I love. Here it is (if you’re using a blog reader, you may have to click through if you actually want to hit “play” and hear the song):

The Son Forsook the Father’s Home

words: Samuel J. Stone
music: Bruce Benedict, 2010
(c) Cardiphonia Music, 2010

The Son forsook the Father’s home
For mercy to lost man,
And did not scorn the Virgin’s womb
To bear the sinner’s ban.
Meekly the Maiden pure believed
The great Archangel’s word,
And by the Holy Ghost conceived
The Saviour Christ the Lord.

The Word made flesh creation sees,
Its mighty God in Man:
Great mystery of mysteries
Since ever time began!
That we might gain a second birth
The Holy Son was given:
T’was God Himself came down to earth
To win us back to heaven.

Lord ! we believe with love and praise
This wondrous truth of Thee:
Thereby in all our troubled days
How strong henceforth are we!
So near art Thou, so strong are we,
For now, if we are Thine,
Our Brother in humanity,
Thou makest us divine!

We see with peace in times of fear
Serene Thy human Form;
Thy human Voice with joy we hear,
Sweet-toned above the storm.
So dread we not the deathly strife,
Knowing that Thou hast died:
It can but bear us into life,
Since nearer to Thy side!

 

Market Cooking: Fall Edition December 7, 2012

Filed under: Recipes and food — kcfeather @ 10:08 pm
On my way to the Farmers' Market

On my way to the Farmers’ Market

Happy Friday! Now that Thanksgiving has passed and Autumn is coming to a close, I thought it was time to do another edition of Market Cooking (see the earlier one here). We’re still loving the Saturday farmer’s market right down the street, and have discovered some pretty tasty recipes over the last few months:

Acorn Squash Quesadillas

Tortilla Butternut Squash soup (from the New England Soup Factory Cookbook)

Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese

Kale Salad with Squash and Clothbound Cheddar

Massaged Kale and Currant Salad

Shepherd’s Pie with the following layers (from the bottom): beef with cinnamon and a bit of curry, drained tomatoes, sauteed chard and garlic, pureed roasted cauliflower

Asian Brussels Sprouts

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Hazelnuts, and Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Broccoli Rabe Grinders

Parsnip Fries (hat tip to J for suggesting roasted parsnips last time around)

Beet and Fennel Soup (also, roasted beets on anything)

Finally, I’m including these last three because they are fantastic, but I cheated and used canned pumpkin, so they are not exactly “Market Recipes” – but still very tasty.

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins (I made these as mini-muffins, which seemed like a better size for such sweet treats)

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Golden Pumpkin Waffles (from Greg Atkinson’s West Coast Cooking)

Here’s the recipe for the Golden Pumpkin Waffles – they are perfect: substantial but not too heavy or sweet (unless you douse them with butter and maple syrup, which isn’t bad, either).

1.25 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup canola/vegetable oil

1.25 cups pumpkin puree (you could use homemade, but I cheated and just opened a can)

Mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients separately, then combine them until just mixed. Put the batter in the waffle maker, wait, and enjoy!  This only really makes enough for 3 people, so double the recipe if you want more (or if you want to freeze some to stick in the toaster on a busy morning).

 

Advent: Week 1 December 4, 2012

Filed under: Holiday — kcfeather @ 2:10 am

Yesterday we celebrated the first Sunday of Advent.  Advent: the season when we await the celebration of the birth of our Savior, while at the same time being reminded that we await His second coming, that we can – and do – look forward to a day when the brokenness of the world around us is made right.  He has come, but He has not yet come again.

In the Advent devotional I am reading, the author points to this truth that we are still waiting for the Prince of Peace to return:

‘Come, Lord Jesus,’ the Advent mantra, means that all of Christian history has to live out a kind of deliberate emptiness, a kind of chosen non-fulfillment. Perfect fullness is always to come, and we do not need to demand it now. This keeps the field of life wide open and especially open to grace and to a future created by God rather than ourselves. – R. Rohr (Preparing for Christmas)

It can be a busy season, but we’re hoping we can sidestep the chaos a bit and take the time to reflect on the reason for all our festivities, to reorient ourselves towards God, and to rest in the knowledge of His grace and love.

We do have a few visible reminders of the special time of year it is around the house.  Last week, I was picking up some groceries, and they had cheap tabletop trees at the market.  So I picked one up, got some lights at the neighborhood dollar store, and on Saturday spent the afternoon decorating it (I tried to pack in the ornaments, but not quite everything fit on the tree).  On our mantle, we have a nativity set, in our windows, snowflakes, and of course, an advent wreath on our table.  C has also been blasting the Statler Brothers – another reminder of the season!

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