Saturday, April 28, 2012

How the PB&J Came to Be

Though this incident is one that happened a few days ago, and the writer has taken so long to write it, it is a story that must be told. So, here it is!

     Well, I guess you could say it started with Jonathon's friends. I would never have realized that we really "spoiled" Jonathon that much till they came over and told us how they made their own lunches of PB&andJ everyday.
     I stopped then and there, and took a couple minutes to digest that information. We have always done Jonanthon's lunches...Making it himself was totally foreign to me...Especially PB&J!
     In fact, it was not that long before that that we had all broke out in gasps of horror when we realized that poor Jonathon had to make his own lunch that morning with an already cooked tortilla and leftover stir fry from the other night.
    Well, being as conniving and full of scathingly brilliant ideas as the seven of us girls are, we planned a surprise lunch for Jonathon to demonstrate a token of our appreciation of him. In his lunch was written a note, along with a bag of apples, a handful of peanuts and a PB&J sandwich, made with the deepest love!
     We all felt a little guilty at first, him being used to the usual (salmon burgers, Italian tortillas and the like) But we concluded that it would not kill him for one day.
     So went the meal that he received that day....I even made sure that I included a smiley face on the sandwich :) And, a slip of paper attached to the sandwhich said as follows, "Don't panic! There is a brownie in the top pocket of your backpack..Love your doting sisters." 
     This meal was then followed the next day, to make up for our utter cruelty, a meal of spinach quiche and cinnamon rolls!
So my readers, that is the story of how the PB&J came to be.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bourne Vivaldi...The latest!

Well, I sure hope y'all haven't gotten absolutely sick of me absolutely always posting the Piano Guy's latest...But, once again, they have done an amazing job. This time, they did a mixture of a Vivaldi song and the theme from "The Bourne Series"...I think it is absolutely amazing. I really like Steven Sharp Nelson's new cello :) And the filming, once again, is unbelievable...So, enjoy!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Infamous Diet

It's called the infamous diet. There is not one person in this household who has not vowed to go on it at one time or another...And not one, thus far, that has succeeded in the keeping of it. In fact, over the months, it has earned the title of the “See-food” diet.

You see, it happens about every couple months...Our family "OD"s on dessert and we all come to a mutual agreement to stop all productions of any such substances of a sugary nature and go on a sugar diet...I mean, sugar-free diet.

It all sounds well and good. In fact, we can already feel our waist lines decreasing as if the mention of such discipline aids in the slimming process.

There is just one very slight problem with this decision; the conclusion is usually reached while we are comfortably curled up in the comfort of our home on our pluffy couches with a bowl heaped full of ice-cream in our hands.

Then it starts, and not for the first time, "We should really go on a diet, guys." someone says between spoonfuls of the delicious treat. A round of agreement echoes from mouths full of ice-cream and brownies.

Of course, Jonathon would probably calculatively say that the energy we use to spoon each delicious spoonful to our mouth cuts our calorie intake in half; which then would cause me to conclude that the more you eat, the more calories you cut.

It is the first day of the diet. Everyone in the household proudly struts around with a new purpose and pride over their mutual agreement, feeling rather good about themselves. Yet enticement is as old as Eve, and at the first sign of temptation, they stutter over their newly established decree. “Did I really say that I should not eat this dessert? After all, it is such a small portion.” Their momentary deflation at having to exercise such discipline is soon dissipated when they resolve to come to another mutual agreement...that "everything is good in moderation". And pretty soon, they are back to feeling good about their new decision… while the diet in its turn has come to a fizzle.

I believe just the mention of a better diet, gives the waist a sort of thinning sensation. But in reality, we end up eating more sugar on our non-sugar diet than we do when we are off of it. Which leaves me questioning whether it would have been more beneficial to these ambitious dieters had they forgone the idea all together.

But I believe the most notorious dieter of us all is the Jonathon with his famous “go figure” diet. In fact, not a day goes by when he comes home, moans at all of the sugar that is before him, saying he shall not eat a bite of it... flip scene, he is serving heaping bowls of ice-cream.

We girls finally conceded to the point that, as the saying goes, "Eat a little of the bad and a lot of the good." I think in reality, they all knew that they would never keep to it or they would never have suggested such a horrific nonsense.

Mark Twain once said, and I "heartily" agree, "Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside."

*The above picture is a meal prepared while on the said diet, and the below picure is the results of this diet.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Life at the Present...

As you all know, two years ago we moved to the country. But what you may not have been aware of were all of the changes and adjustments that went on in the background. Our calm faces at the time, did not reveal the frazzled nerves, and bone-weary state that were hidden behind our serene countenance.

At first, well, it took some of us longer to adjust then others...I won't name names for my Dad's sake :) You see, our roots had been grounded in a closed-in neighborhood, with what some may consider "city roots". So to all of the sudden uproot, and weed out all of the old ways of doing things, and planting new ways of living was, well, a little different.

In fact, watching from a distance and seeing a crowd of people gather around the computer, Googling whether their dog would "survive" after he had eaten his first mouse, well, might have seemed a little strange to someone who has grown up in the country. (You might even call this a little bit of a country shock.)

Then there were some of us who were gun-ho about all of this, and wanted to dive full throttle into the life of farming, thinking that 24 chickens was a very small start. And then their were others who backed up, took a double take at all of the chickens, and decided to adjust a year or two before adding anything more to their plate.

Then there were other instances like when we found the first bear hair in our food (Now let me specify...Bear is the name of our dog :) Nowadays, it is unusual to eat a meal that does not contain a hair or two from the dog.

Of course, at first, being as ignorant as we were, we thought it necessary to clean the chicken coop every month...I mean, you want those chickens to be comfortable, right? Well, now that we are educated in the country ways, we only clean it every month and a half :) Of course, you might remember my post on the building of the coop. (Only the best for the chicks) Dad made sure when picking out the wood and supplies he took the utmost care, and consideration as to the supplies used. And I wish I had a picture of the storekeeper's face after he had delivered the supplies to dad and dad told him that they were for a chicken coop. We had to help the poor man pick his jaw up from the floor.

(And just for the record, mentioning "chicken noodle soup" to your chicks has proven to be fruitless...or shall I say egg-less)

And then there was the mud factor... you don't get dirt in Daddy's "museum". This was at the time when we were careful to keep our floors clean! Those of us who were more eager about country life were able to slowly ease daddy into the idea that we were in the country now....Now I have half of the garden started upstairs in my bedroom, with a cloth nearby to wipe the constant traces of dirt away.

Here is a picture of one of our Austrolopes during molting season. She looks rather pitiful :)

NOTE: The above picture is taken in the Master bedroom...Yes, I did manage to convince Dad that, with the utmost precaution and the most detailed care, I could tend part of my garden from his window :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

John Piper and Eater Sunday!!!

Our Pastor read something to us a couple Sundays ago written by John Piper and I thought it fit very well with Easter Sunday!

The Donkey, the Stallion, and the Strategy of the Hills BY JOHN PIPER
"Once there was a king who reigned over the whole earth. He was a good king and very powerful. He loved his subjects and governed the whole earth with perfect justice. No one could find fault with him. No one ever rebelled because the king was an inferior king. Where there was rebellion, it was only because the people wanted to be kings themselves.And it came to pass that the king decided to plant a beautiful vineyard, to yield fruit for his court and for all the earth. He supervised the work himself. He planted the vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a winepress in it, and built a tower. And then he chose one of the poorest clans in his realm to be the tenants of his vineyard, and he promised them all the help they needed if they would but ask him and trust him to give it. It was an almost unbelievable privilege to be chosen by the great king to tend his vineyard. And in the early days the tenants loved their work. They could scarcely call it work. The king gave them all they needed, he let them eat the fruit, he guarded their borders, and sent his messengers to them often. It was as if he were doing the work.But that became a problem. Because soon the attitudes of the tenants began to change. They didn't like the idea of giving the king all the credit for their produce. In fact, they didn't like the idea of being tenants at all. They began to want to be owners. Owners get the produce; owners get the rent; owners get all the glory, especially when they do so much of the work. So deep inside the tenants wanted to be the owner. They wanted to be their own boss and not rely on the patronizing help of the king.And so a terrible thing happened. One day the king sent his servants to receive a load of fruit from his vineyard. But they found no one at the winepress or in the barns or in the vineyard. These servants were three of the most faithful messengers of the king. They were duly commissioned and stood in the king's place. They became very tense at the strange silence in the vineyard. There were no birds. There had always been birds. There were no children. There had always been children. There was no music. There had always been music.But then, suddenly from everywhere, the angry tenants emerged, and the servants of the king were surrounded. Those who didn't have sharp pruning hooks in their hands held large jagged stones. The servants of the king were armed with nothing but the king's message and the memory of his words as they left the palace. He had said,Though arrogance and rage assail, Conspiracy will not prevail. In death recall unerringly That you will always reign with me.With that they were better armed than the wicked tenants. But not against the pruning hooks. The tenants rushed upon them and grabbed the two younger messengers and made them watch while they beheaded the faithful old man with a pruning hook. They could hear him whispering the king's promise until the blow fell. He really believed it.In death recall unerringly That you will always reign with me.Then they turned on the younger servants and beat one and stoned the other and sent them back to the king half dead with a message:We've had enough of sovereign care, We see no need with you to share. You have your kingdoms, fields and towers, Go now, rule yours, and we'll rule ours.When the king heard this, and how his friend and servant had been slain, he went away and took counsel with himself in the royal chamber. All the court expected him to emerge arrayed for battle, for they knew he was a mighty warrior and deeply loved his messengers. But when he appeared, he did not gather an army; he called around him six of his most loyal ambassadors and asked, "Who is willing to go for me and deliver my message to the tenants of the vineyard?" The ambassadors were startled and said, "What message, my lord?" The king opened the scroll and read,Of me it has been said of old, It magnifies my strength to hold In check my wrath, restrain my woes, And offer mercy to my foes. Turn now and bend the knee to me, And I'll forgive your treachery.He looked up again and said, "Who is willing to go for me and deliver my word to the tenants of the vineyard?" And all six stepped forward. For there was no greater honor in the realm than to bear the message of the king. The king took each one by the hand, looked into his eyes, and said, as if he were the only person in the world,Though arrogance and rage assail Conspiracy will not prevail. In death recall unerringly That you will always reign with me.And with that as their only weapon they journeyed to the king's vineyard. When they saw guards, they paused outside the gate and renewed their vows of loyalty to the king. They entered a solemn covenant not to avenge one another, even if their hearts should break. As soon as they entered the gate, they were captured, bound, and taken before the leaders. The king's message was read. And the tenants were enflamed with rage. Three of the ambassadors they killed, two they stoned almost to death, and one they flogged until he passed out. They loaded the three dying ambassadors with the three mutilated bodies on a cart and sent them back to the king with this message:If we should ever want a king, If we should ever want to bring Our homage to a royal seat, Know this: we'll stand upon our feet, And ask no mercy, bend no knee, We'll build our own if need should be.When the good king read this message and saw the bodies of his beloved ambassadors, he paused only an instant, then he turned and walked to the chamber of his son, spoke briefly, and the two of them went on a long journey into the hills, alone. Meanwhile, the palace of the king was full of commotion and noise and planning. The mighty men were preparing for war. The blood of the martyr-messengers was screaming for justice to be done. The desecration of the king's name was an intolerable offence to those who loved him and served him day and night. The chariots were assembled. The armor was shined, the swords and spears sharpened, and thousands upon thousands gathered at the palace of the king and waited. And at the head of the camp stood the great white stallion—the largest, strongest, most beautiful horse in the realm. Only one person could ride the stallion and lead the king's forces against the treacherous tenants—the son, the king's only son. Soon the king and his son would come out of their silence arrayed for battle. Soon the strategy of the hills would be revealed. It would be an incomparable battle plan—the son upon his mighty stallion, and ten thousand thousand warriors in his train.Early one morning they were spotted coming down out of the hills. And a great silence fell across the armies. What they saw was utterly beyond comprehension. The king was dressed in mourning garments, leading a donkey with a hemp rope, and on the donkey sat the son dressed like a common beggar. They entered and passed through the camp, and as they passed, the warriors bowed to the ground.What had happened in the hills? What strange plan had these two made? It had not been done in haste. And no one has been consulted. (There are no counselors in the court of this king.) It was a strategy from the depths of the king's love and wisdom. And the son had joyfully agreed.They passed through the armies without a word. At the far edge of the palace grounds nearest the territory of the vineyard they stopped. The king embraced the son and whispered just for him:Though arrogance and rage assail Conspiracy will not prevail. In death recall unerringly That you will always reign with me.After the son rode off alone on the donkey, the king turned back to his loyal subjects. They suspected what he was doing, but could scarcely believe it. The wicked tenants wouldn't just kill him. They would humiliate him and torture him. It was hard enough to understand that the all-wise king would send his six beloved ambassadors to certain death. But now his son, his only son, to be toyed with and destroyed by worthless scoundrels. The king knew the armies expected some word of explanation. So he took his stand before them in his mourning garments and simply said:When we have given all we can Then we will fight, but only then.So the armies of the realm kept themselves in readiness. And the king sat down on his throne.The word spread everywhere and ran ahead of the king's son. By the time he arrived at the gate of the vineyard, there was quite a stir. The king's son had never left the palace. He had never visited any realm. Most of the people found it incredible—the king's son does not dress like a beggar and ride on a donkey. He wears white and purple robes and rides a white stallion, as the old books say. But the loyal old subjects of the king, who knew him well, recognized the son. They knew when they had seen the son, they had seen the king. And they were fearful of what was about to happen.And the children! All the children loved him. Even as he entered the awful gate of the vineyard, no one could stop the children. They ran and leaped and cheered and threw branches in his path. It didn't make any difference to the children that he looked poor. Children haven't learned yet that a person must be rich to be happy. They saw the eyes of love. They had no trouble with childlike submission to the king. So for them the visit of the son was wonderful. "Long live the king! Long live the king's son!" they cried.The wicked grown-up tenants watched from a distance. They could hardly believe that the king was so foolish. They said to each other, "This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance for ourselves." And as they plotted the death of the king's son, the children chanted over and over (as children do):Great is the son! Great is the son! Who comes in the name of the king. He is the one! He is the one! All homage to him we bring.Finally the chanting faded. The children returned home. The king's son looked out over the vineyards. The soil was rich and moist. The vines were thick and strong. The branches were heavy with the finest grapes—the king's grapes. And he wept over the treason of the wicked tenants and the desecration of his father's name.When he lifted up his head, he was surrounded by armed men. He steadied himself with the king's promise. Then, reaching into his simple cloak, he pulled out a scroll and said, "I have a word from the king." "And we a word for him," the leader replied. "Come, let us trade our messages." The king's son opened the scroll and read these words,It is not seemly for a king To beg his subjects that they bring Him love. But I do not delight In mustering my awesome might To end your lives for evermore. I send my only son, therefore, With news that I will yet forgive And let those who repent still live."Is that all?" they sneered. "No; my father said I should add this: Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you sing with the children, 'Great is the son! Great is the son! Who comes in the name of the king.'" "And what is that supposed to mean?" they snarled. "It means that for you mercy has almost come to an end. Soon your houses will be empty and you will be no more. And the vineyard will be given to a new and faithful people. And I will return to this place on the great white stallion. And by the magnificent mercy of my father a new generation will welcome me with palms and grapes and love and happy submission to the king."The wicked tenants stopped their ears when they heard the word, "submission," and the leader cried out, "Now, here is our message for your king." And they rushed upon the king's son, beat him mercilessly, dragged him out of the city to the highest hill for all to see, and nailed his hands and feet like a poster to a tree, and mocked.If the wicked tenants had been able to read his lips, they would have known what carried him through the ordeal:Though arrogance and rage assail Conspiracy will not prevail. In death recall unerringly That you will always reign with me.As he died, he lifted up his eyes toward the region of the palace of his father, and he saw the armies of the king, ten thousand thousand, with arms lifted in salute to the valor of the king's son. And standing alone before the myriads, the king himself, holding the golden reigns of the great white stallion, waiting, waiting, waiting." BY JOHN PIPER

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Crossroad Of Time!!!

Well, Ladies, and Gentlemen... It is finally up and running. The long awaited for blog, "The Cross Road of Time". In fact, if you head on over, you can be one of the first followers *grin* You have the choice of following us either on Facebook or Twitter...If you want to follow us on blogger, you just add the URL to your list, like any other blog.
We are so excited as we have been researching the Victorian, Romantic, Regency, and Edwardian era for the past few months. Well, after much writing, and planning, and working at it, it's finally ready. I won't do a lot of explaining as Jonathon has already written the intro on the blog, but keep updated as we will be posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday... I know, we'll be busy!