Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Sourdough

All of my lovely blogging friends, many people I know in real life have been asking for this post. So this is for them. But if you so desire, this post may be for you, too. 
Because everyone deserves to enjoy sourdough.
In fact, all lovers of sourdough, this post is for you!
Everyone else can go starve. 


Story Time
Many of you may know that I lived in Tennessee for sometime, doing office work for a ministry called Above Rubies. Mrs Campbell, the woman I worked for and lived with, made the most delicious sourdough I ever had. I decided I wanted to learn to make it just as well - I had previously tried, following the THM recipe, but I couldn't get my starter to turn out. 

Living and watching Mrs Campbell, everything made much more sense than the book. And so when she went away on a trip and she asked me to take care of the sourdough I was excited for the opportunity!  

I knew what to do and everything was going well - until I got it in the oven and it burned black all the way through. I was multi-tasking, cleaning and baking, and I guess I plain forgot the bread once I shut the oven. 
I was upset, but I finished up that bread, then tried once again. 
The second time went well, too. Until . . . guess what? I forgot it again. In the oven. Though it burned black only part way through this time, it still burned horribly. 

You'd think I wouldn't have even wanted to try again. But I was determined that I would make good sourdough bread. I was quite stubborn about it, actually ;) 


Also, I had just attended a sermon with the Campbells. It was about three water wells Isaac dug in Genesis 26:18-22. He dug a well, but there was strife as others fought over what he had made. He moved on and dug another well. And here again was strife once more. So he continued on and he dug a third well and there was peace at last. The lesson was sometimes we don't succeed the first time, but that doesn't mean there's not something to learn from those first two "wells" or that we shouldn't keep on building wells.  


Mrs Campbell was hesitant letting me make bread again, but I argued, "This third try will be my peaceful well". 


And it was! 


And has been ever since. When I left Tennessee she gave me some starter and I've been making amazing sourdough for the last two years. 


Here is a tutorial video I made, with the help of my sister, Jerushah.




Let's Make Sourdough


You'll need: 

Sourdough starter (rye flour and water that has sat and caught the yeast from the air)
Rye flour
Kamut or spelt flour - I prefer kamut
Pink Himalayan salt
Water
Coconut oil to oil pans

Bread pans (I use large casserole dishes, then cut the bread into loaves)

Glass jar for measuring water
Measuring utensils
Plastic or wooden spatulas
Metal stirring spoon

Never put metal into your sourdough starter. I recently read that "metal touching sourdough kills it" is really a myth. But . . . I'm still going with it. Once you have mixed the starter into your flour mixture it's O.K. to use metal, but I never use metal in the bowl that grows the starter. 

Metal is alright: for mixing the dough (metal pan or metal spoon) or baking in (metal baking dish). 

If you'd like me to send you some sourdough starter or bread already made email me at keturahskorner(at)gmail(dot)com and see if  I have any extra to send you. I'll charge just a little for supplies and shipping.  


What you do:

 I grind my kamut flour, filling the holding compartment twice.
I fill my pan almost 1/3 full of rye flour. I add the kamut flour. This fills the pan just over half full of flour. I use at least three tablespoons of salt. 
I mix that altogether, then pour in my sourdough starter, using a wooden or plastic spatula to pour the starter into my flour mixture. I leave about half a cup of starter in the bowl, change into a new glass or plastic bowl, and cover it and put it away to begin growing more starter.
I add several quarts of water. I stir with a sturdy metal spoon, adding water as needed. Eventually it becomes too hard to use a spoon so I stir with my clean hands. They don't stay clean long. 
Once it's done it looks like thick, smooth slop ;D
Pour bread into greased baking dishes. 
Wash your hands, then use water and smooth the top of your bread.
Cover and let set for 8-10 hours. I prefer 10 hours. I've noticed it's lighter when it sits just a bit longer. 
Then I bake for about an hour at 350.
You should stick in a knife and it will come out mostly clean. 
Let cool for a few moments.
Tastes great hot!

Eat:

I love to fry it in butter or coconut oil with my eggs. I like it with plain peanut butter. I love it toasted. I like it on top of my plain Greek yogurt drenched with real maple syrup. It makes great egg-avocado sandwiches. 
Also - I've ate it with white cheese and peanut butter. Most people think that last one is a bit weird.





Pictures: 
Grinding the kamut
Kamut is like huge translucent grains of rice. 


Tip: Cover the grinder with a towel and flour won't fly out of the vents all over the kitchen ;) 
Almost looks like cornmeal ;)





Supplies



Sourdough starter - it's natural for it to form a "nasty" crust around the edge. Sometimes I use some of the crust if I can scrape it off and it doesn't look too moldy.


Dry ingredients
Pink salt
White, Yellow, Pink




Make it wet
Add starter to flour, using wood or plastic
Stir (you can use metal here). . .
. . . Add water . . . 



. . . keep adding water 'till you get this glob of gooey goodness



Pouring in pans

Almost looks like the porridge they eat at the beginning of Oliver! It falls in heavy, so I often have to use a measuring cup to transfer the dough into the pans.
Looks rough when you first pour it in . . . 


. . . So smooth the top with clean, WET hands, splashing water generously on top of the bread
And then it looks so nice and smooth!




Baked


Cut into loaves
Love the bread with a selfie


Cut and enjoy!

And that is what I live off! Seriously, I eat so much of this stuff and little else. 
I will admit I didn't LOVE this stuff right away, though I've always liked it. It does take time to get used to it as it's really sour. 
And some people really LOVE it or HATE it. 
Which kind of person are you or do you think you are? Would you like to try some? Will you make it? 

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Lawrence Children: Chapter 11

Good Job, Julie!





Julie lay in a frightened heap, crying. She was scared – it was dark and she was all alone.
She heard Fred-O calling for her but she couldn't stop crying to call for help.
His voice disappeared.
Now she was even more alone and her crying increased. Thoughts of her mother entered her little mind. She wanted her – but her mother had been gone a long time. And Julie couldn't understand why.
“Lucy!” Julie managed to shout between her sobbing. Lucy would take care of her if her mother couldn't.
Her arm hurt. She had fallen on it when she had leaned too far into the dark hole.
Julie heard footsteps.
“Julie!” It was Vern and Lucy and Ann and Noah and Fred-O. She could hear their footsteps on the shack floor, making a loud noise like wind.
“Julie,” Lucy called out.
Julie couldn't answer, only cry.
“Look!” Noah shouted. “The trap door is open.”
All the voices moved and crowded around the opening. Julie saw all of her siblings eyes staring down at her.
“Lucy! I want out!” Julie managed to say when she saw her older sister.
“She's down there!” Noah said. Relieved sounds spread throughout the older siblings.
“Can you stand up?” Vern called down.
Julie shook her head, not realizing they couldn't see her movements in the dark hole.
“Run back for a lantern,” Vern told Noah. “I need to be able to see her to get down.”
Noah jumped up immediately, dashing out of the shack.
“Julie, are you hurt?” Lucy said.
Julie held her arm with her other hand.
“That girl needs to learn to communicate,” Vern said frustrated. “How can we help her?”
“She can talk,” Lucy said. “Her communications are just different.”
That didn't seem to make Vern less upset. Julie was sorry Vern was mad. She wanted to talk and call out to him. But her arm hurt so bad. And her mind was always so troubled – life had been hard to the little girl, and her mind was having to heal as she tried to understand everything.
Vern felt around the opening, “There's a ladder here. I'll go ahead and crawl down. Noah is taking so long.”
“What if there are snakes down there?” Ann asked.
“I think Julie would have found them already if there were,” Vern said as he lowered himself through the opening.
Julie saw Vern's big feet coming into the hole. Suddenly everything was all dark as his body shut out the light. Once he began stepping down the ladder rungs the light started returning. Julie was glad there was light, and she was glad Vern was so close.
He finally reached the last bit of ladder, “Well, the ladder is still good.” he called up. “No rotten boards.”
Once Vern's eyes adjusted to the darkness he reached over to Julie.
She let him take her, but cried out with pain as he touched her arm.
He quickly put her back down.
“I think she's hurt!” Vern said.
“Where?” Lucy asked, her voice betraying fear.
“I don't know,” Vern answered.
Lucy came down the ladder and ran to her little sister, “I shouldn't have let her wander off. That was irresponsible of me.” Lucy picked up Julie, looking over her arm.
Vern was quick to say, “Don't be like that, Lucy. You can't keep your eyes on her always.”
Lucy wasn't convinced, “Where are you hurt?”
Julie pointed to her arm.
Lucy felt it carefully until Julie winced as Lucy pressed on Julie's wrist.
“I think she sprained her wrist. She'll be fine.”
Vern's eyes had completely adjusted to the darkness. “It's kinda interesting down here – not just a cellar. There's an opening that looks to be a tunnel -”
“Like a path?” Ann excitedly called down.
“Yeah,” Vern shouted up.
“Of course!” Ann began jumping around up top. She grabbed Noah's hands. “That must be the path Grandpa wrote on the map.” Ann lowered herself back to the floor. “I know this is a bad time to be excited – but I think we just uncovered the mystery of the map!”
Julie didn't understand what they were talking about, but she saw Vern smile. So did Lucy. Whatever they had been looking for they had found. Or maybe she was the one that found it? Because now Vern and Lucy were hugging her and saying, “Good job, Julie! You found Grandpa's path.”
But she wasn't quite sure what she had done that was so good. Falling into a dark hole and hurting her hand wasn't really good. That wasn't something to congratulate one over.
“Let's go!” Ann said excitedly, already climbing down the ladder and walking toward the darkness of the tunnel. She climbed a little slower as she neared the bottom. “Are you sure there aren't snakes?”
“Positive.” Vern replied.
Ann jumped to the ground, cautiously moving on the dirt floor toward the tunnel. Fred-O climbed down after her. “Ready?”
“No, let's wait,” Vern said. “Wait until Noah gets here with the lantern. And we can all be together.”
Ann didn't look too happy, but she didn't argue. It was only fair they wait and walk down that tunnel assembled – and together discover what there was to find. “I guess we really can't see in here without light anyway.”
Julie was happy either way. Lucy was holding her, carefully so as not to make her sprained arm hurt any more.
It wasn't very long until Noah joined them with a lamp. His head stuck down into the hole. “What is everyone doing down here?” Noah asked.
“Come down!” Fred-O yelled up. “We found the treasure!”
“Really!?”
Lucy and Vern laughed.
“Not quite,” Lucy said.
“But almost just as if! We found a tunnel that must be the path of the map.” Ann said.
Noah's smile lit up above them. He moved around, stepping down the ladder, and holding the lamp in his left hand carefully. “Of course – that makes a lot of sense. I bet this was an old gold mine and Grandpa built his shack over one of the entrances. That explains why the lines are so straight and not marked with distances, landmarks, or such.”
“This does seem to clear a lot of questions,” Vern said.
Julie put her head against Lucy's shoulder. She didn't much care for treasure or dark gold mining tunnels. She was only happy that all the siblings were with her.
Noah reached the floor. Holding the lamp up high he lead his siblings into the tunnel.
Everyone followed, first Ann and Fred-O, then Vern, and finally Lucy with Julie.
“This is exciting,” Lucy said.
“I know,” Vern whispered back to Lucy. “I think we may have actually stumbled on the right thing – or rather Julie did. A mystery not even Father could solve.”
Julie felt Lucy shiver, “That is most certainly a thought.”
“The tunnel takes a sharp turn to the left!” Noah called out.
Just like the map, the tunnel went left, then right, and then left again. There were many side tunnels that went off in other directions, but it was easier to tell them apart as they were both smaller and their paths not as worn.
Ann talked excitedly, “What do you think the treasure is?”
“It could be gold.” Vern said. “As this is an old mine.”
“Or jewels! Maybe Grandpa was a pirate!” Fred-O said.
All the rest of the children laughed. “Grandpa was a good man,” Lucy said.
“Are you sure?” Fred-O asked.
“Well, one can't always be sure. But I'm as sure as I can surely be.”
Fred-O sighed, causing everyone else to laugh once more.
Ann shouted out, breaking the laughter, “There! The tunnel ends.”
Sure enough. The tunnel ended, a door ending the path.
Noah, Ann, and Fred-O stopped, waiting for the others to catch up. It was as if they were nervous about opening the door and putting an end to their wild imaginations of what lay behind it.
“Well, we better open it.” Vern said.
“Want to open the door?” Noah asked Ann.
She nodded and stepped past her brother. It was a simple wooden door with a latch that lifted up so that the door could be pushed inward. Ann lifted the latch – slowly. The door squeaked open on its own. The light of Noah's lamp spilled into the room revealing a space full of crates, trunks, and old furniture.
“It's… it's a storage room.” Ann's disappointment was obvious.
Noah walked in with the lantern. Everyone else followed, passing Ann. She finally joined them, too, looking around.
It wasn't what they were expecting, true. Ann seemed to be a little disappointed.
There was still a lot there. None of it looked to be treasure.
Lucy spoke, “It's a storage room full of treasure – can't you see?”
Ann shook her head, “How?”
“This was Grandpa's treasure. It is treasure – things that were worth more to him than gold or pirates' jewels.” Lucy dusted off a small chair and set Julie on it. “Just look!”
She opened a crate. They all looked in with the light of the lantern lighting up the contents.
“Dresses,” Noah didn't sound enthused. “They look like costumes.”
“Nice dresses,” Lucy corrected. “These must have been Grandma's. Back when she was a lady of society. My, but don't they look fancy?”
Ann looked like she was starting to be interested once more. She laughed, “I could imagine having a masquerade ball with these.” Ann held up a dress made of crimson satin and lace.
She opened another trunk and saw a small flute, “This must have been Grandma's, too!”
Noah looked at the flute, “I wonder if Mr Farrows can teach me to play that instead of his violin?”
Soon they were all opening crates and trunks. Most of them were filled with household goods or clothes that used to belong to their grandparents before they had moved out west. Back from another time when they had lived another sort of life.
There were exciting things – things that the children had only read about. Fancy dishes, musical instruments, clothes, shoes, plaques. Some of the things were old and not even in a condition to be used. But all of them were extraordinary.
There was even a small box of toys. Lucy handed a rag doll to Julie to keep her entertained as the rest of them sorted through the boxes.
“Here's a box of papers!” Fred-O said. “A folio, newspapers, a journal -”
Ann ran to join Fred-O. She grabbed the journal and opened it. But as she did she looked to Lucy, “Should I read it?”
Lucy nodded, “I don't think he much cares about privacy anymore.”
Noah looked over the folio and laughed, “Guess what Grandpa used to do!”
“I know he worked in some sort of office,” Vern said.
“He sold insurance – a salesman for a large company. Looks like it made plenty of money from this book of figures and premiums and – wow, this just looks super boring! He had to do interviews, had correspondence with elite individuals, and keep up with the economy on a large scale.”
“Doesn't sound boring from all your exclamations,” Vern winked.
Lucy laughed, “Maybe mining was more interesting, and overrode the money he made?”
“It would appear so,” Noah answered.
Vern was going through the newspapers, “Here's something interesting – and article about Alex Norris being committed to Warm Springs.”
“Warm Springs? I thought springs made either cold or hot water – how is it warm?” Fred-O asked, sounding confused.
All the older children laughed. Julie looked up from where she was playing with her doll. She didn't know what was so funny that kept making her siblings laugh, but she smiled anyways. Laughter was worth smiling over.
“What?” Fred-O asked.
“It's not a springs, but a place where they send mental people,” Vern said.
“Oh,” he said as if that made more sense. And then his tone changed with surprised wonder, “Alex Norris was mental?”
The rest of the children understood what Vern meant just as Fred-O asked his question. They gathered around the paper to read the article.
“Wow. Bet that upset some people,” Noah said.
“No kidding,” Vern replied. “It looks like a lot of people were in favor for having him sent there. Some thanks for all he did...”
Ann held up the journal, “It would appear Norris wasn't killed in Bozeman after all. Where do you think Father got that story?”
“What do you mean?” Lucy, Vern, and Noah all asked at once.
“Grandpa wrote, 'My good friend Alex Norris was released today and sent home to Iowa. He will be greatly missed, but I know with all the trouble he's been receiving it will be best for him, and I myself had recommended to him to return to family. I just pray all the greedy men that falsely accused him will realize their error before it's too late. It's sad that none have made inquiry after his health since his move.' He also wrote a ways later that he thinks Alex Norris won't live long at his home because of his frailty caused by being at Warm Springs.”
“No wonder he isn't talked about much in our history of the town. Not a pleasant subject,” Noah said.
“Also, it looks like I wrongly accused the Richter brothers.” Ann said quietly.
“Oh?”
“'I also received other sad news today. Dear young friends, Robert and Miles Richter, two youth that stood up for Alex's character are moving away. They told me that they can no longer stand the hypocrisy and greed of the men that have mistreated Alex. I agree with them and would be tempted to move myself if it weren't for my wife and kids. They would not be happy to move again – and once this all dies down, this will be a good place to raise a family. Or at least I hope.'”
Ann set the journal on her lap.
Lucy picked it up, looking it over. “This is a treasure,” Lucy whispered.
“I feel so bad,” Ann said. “I wanted a mystery with excitement. I was ready to accuse innocent men of murder – there was never a murder. And these men actually were the good guys.”
“No need to feel bad,” Vern said. “At least the Richter brothers don't know what you thought.”
“That is one comforting thought,” Ann replied. “But, still, I feel bad.”
“Just let that feeling guide you to be more wise and kind in the future,” Vern said.
Ann smiled.
Lucy suddenly laughed.
Everyone turned to her.
“This is why Father thought what he did! My, Grandpa sounded like he was more than a little mischievous. 'Frederic keeps asking me where Uncle Alex is. It has been quite awhile since he saw him, and I just heard recently that Alex has passed away in Iowa surrounded by old family and friends. Elise did not want him knowing that he was sent to Warm Springs. I am afraid he'll find out from a nasty boy at school anyways – but as far as I've heard, he hasn't. Maybe all the fathers feel embarrassed at what they did and will not allow their children to talk about it? Anyways, I told Frederic today, when he continued his excessive questioning, an exciting story about how Alex was murdered in Bozeman. It is one last exciting thing that I can let Alex do for the children. Of course, someday I'll have to tell Frederic the truth. I hope he won't be terribly disappointed. Elise doesn't think I should have lied – I guess I can't escape her complaints. But you should have seen Frederic's face! It was hilarious.'”
“That's not funny,” Fred-O said.
Vern laughed, “But you are.”
“So, there was never a mystery. Or a murder. Just a grandfather that loved to play pranks,” Noah said.
“I wish we could have known him,” Ann said.
Lucy held up the journal using it to point around at the things in the room. “I think all these things will help us know him very well.”


Make sure to return the second Monday of next month for the LAST installment of the Lawrence Children! 


Father Tells a Story posted 10/9/17
No More Good-nights posted 11/13/17
Lucy Learns to Live posted 12/11/17
Never Know, Noah posted 1/8/18
Grandpa's Mystery  posted 2/12/18
Ann Finds Answers posted 3/12/18
Vern Lead's An Adventure posted 4/9/18
A Friendly Visit posted 5/14/18
A Real Clue? posted 6/11/18
Fred-O is Frightened  posted 7/9/18
Good Job, Julie! posted 8/13/18
Hello, Life posted 9/10/18

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Finding The Magic COVER REVEAL




Finding the Magic is an adorable retelling of Beauty and the Beast set during one of my favorite time periods, WWII. I wrote a review on Goodreads. But basically—the book was beyond warm and tender and captivating and I'm thrilled I had the honor to beta read it.

And it was such a lovely short read, too.

Anyways, this story is being published, and that means there is going to be a gorgeous cover . . .

But first, what is it about?
Fifteen-year-old Belle is sent to the countryside to escape the London bombings of WWII. She knows she will miss her mother and worry about her father, who is away fighting in the war, but has no idea what awaits her in the manor in which she is to live. She finds friends in the staff but the mysterious and elusive master of the house frightens her. Can she teach him to find the magic in a world where magic seems to be long gone?

And who wrote it?
Jack is an author, which is why she spends much of her time writing and little of her time editing. She likes to follow characters around and tell their stories even if they don't tell her everything they know about their stories. She lives alone in a Hobbit hole and spends her spare time with her nose stuck in a book. When she isn't doing that she is busy baking bread and annoying her neighbors with bagpipes.

And now the cover . . .


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Now don't you just want to read THAT? 

And a side update . . . I'm now officially an author on Amazon and GoodReads. So if you think (or better yet, KNOW!) that you might like my writing feel free to follow me at one or both places ;D 



Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Four Year Blogiversary

On August 4th I will have been blogging for four years. This is my first post.

In many ways I feel as if I have been blogging forever. Only four years??? And the more I think of it the more I'm amazed, because I've lived so much life in these last four years.

It was soon after starting my blog that I first traveled away from home, alone and during the years since I have traveled more times than I can remember, making tons of friends and learning so much about life and people

In some ways I feel like the person that started this blog four years ago is a distant memory. At least outwardly. But I'm also the same. It wasn't long after starting this blog that I wrote my first opinionated piece.

Since starting this blog I've wrote all my best works, finishing tons of short stories and some novels.

In many ways this blog is exactly the same as when I first started it. It's still pink and green. Still random, mostly designed to share my thoughts and connect with others. This blog is still so me, even as I've developed into a new me.

Even as the blog is the same, I hope it's better. I'm still learning, but I think overall the blog is looking cleaner and is easier on the eyes? I hope that my opinions are starting to make more sense and that there are less typos and errors in my posts and that my writing has become more experienced even as I am.

In honor of my blogiversary I asked you all to ask me questions and here is a video answering all of those questions. I'm sorry it's a bit long - but if I do say so myself, it should still be interesting. I really loved your guys' questions :)



Gray asked what my favorite blog post is, so here are links to my answer: Hard Things Are Often Times Really Fun and Love at First Sight: A Myth

Also, Rakayle asked how many shoes I have. I answered that in the video, then realized I had another pair of shoes for dancing that were hiding away in a bag . . . I have what I say in the video + a pair ;) Wow, why do I have so many shoes???

Thanks so much for being a part of my blog! Enjoy the video, and here's to many more years of blogging together! 

And if you make it all the way through the video, let me know ;D 

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Cockroaches & Math and Missing Men


Cockroaches and Math
It was early morning, but I felt today was perfect. My friend, Rose, was in the kitchen, her music playing gently as she started breakfast.

I skipped into the kitchen, “The animals - can you help me find them?”

Rose motioned toward the back porch, “I just let them out.”

I sang loudly with Rose’s music (a song I’d never heard before) as I rushed to the pantry. I asked Rose, “Would you like me to cut sourdough?”

She nodded, smiling. I knew she hated cutting through the hard crust.

I cut the bread, still singing. I dropped several pieces into the toaster. “I have this great idea for a short story! About a good cockroach. It’s sad how people hate them, so I want to portray how they are mistreated.”

Rose’s eyebrows arched sharply.

The cat and dog scratched at the door. I threw the knife into the sink, ran to the door, and let the animals in, pouring food into their dishes.

I came back into the kitchen, stuffed food into my mouth, and sang.

“My, you’re hyper this morning. Especially after getting up early and doing math.”

I laughed, “I had to get up early to take the dog out. And I couldn’t go back to sleep. So, of course, I did math.”

“No comment,” she accepted two slices of toasted sourdough.

“Cockroaches and math,” I said as I kept humming. “Maybe those are the ingredients for the perfect morning?”

Rose looked at me hard. We both laughed.



Missing Men

Weddings, that time of life when you thrive off stress. Or so it’s with me. I’ve had the honor to share a small part of stress with many of my friends as I helped them prepare for their day.

So many weddings, so much wonderful work.

It was Rose’s wedding day. Stress was on a high. So much to do. so many people to find.

Bouquets were made, I’d just ironed the men’s suits - who were yet to arrive. Bridesmaids and flowergirls sat around me, doing hair or waiting for my help.

I smiled, laughing, thriving on the rush.

Rose entered the room, wedding gown and makeup intact. I paused working, the little girl’s hair staying taut in my hand. Rose was a natural beauty with her sharp Asian features, long and shiny black hair, and beautiful smile. And right now she looked like an exquisite china doll. Dainty, sophisticated, glowing.

I could also see she was stressed. She asked, “The guys aren’t here yet?”


“Do you really need them now?” A bridesmaid asked.

I finished the flowergirl’s hair and motioned for Rose to sit. Then I began working on Rose’s hair.

Even so she glared at the bridesmaid that spoke. “Yes! We have clothes, but no men. They should have been here hours ago. Where are they?”

I felt the latter part of the question was directed to me. Nervously, I replied, “Maybe they were raptured?”

I began styling Rose’s hair; I sensed tension drop away as she laughed.



Both of these short stories are fictionalized memories of me and one of my best friends, Esther Rose :D 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Innocent Love and Righteous Hatred



This post shall be a bit different.

Parts of it will look almost blasphemous, to be honest. But If you get to the end I hope you will see that I'm not being so.

I honestly hope I'm sharing truths I'm learning.

Awhile back on Facebook an uncle of mine shared a post. I'm not sure what point he was trying to make. Or if he was even trying to make any point. I replied, being both silly and serious. And then another uncle replied . . . being both silly and serious. I'm thinking he kinda meant his last comment as an insult?

Here's the conversation:


A friend just let me know that these words my uncle posted aren't actually his words, but in fact a quote from Mark Twain. FB can be very misleading at times ;) 

Anyways, this got me to thinking.

About when I was little. And about now. Why I used to pray for Satan. And why I don't anymore.

And, yes, I used to pray for Satan.

I used to pray that all my family and friends would love Yahweh more than any thing and get a long - there's always been a lot of family drama in our large family ;D. But I didn't stop there. I'd pray that ALL PEOPLE WOULD chose to love Yahweh. People of the past, present, and future. I'd then pray for bad people of the Bible, and always prayed last for Satan.

I really thought it was sad that he'd not chose to repent.

I still think this. I mean, he knows how it ends. He knows he can't win. Why refuse to repent? Why remain in rebellion? 

Eventually I realized it was pointless to pray for Satan.

The Bible clearly says that he is condemned.

Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

I knew at a young age it was probably wrong to keep praying for him. So I stopped, though I never stopped feeling sorry for him.

But this question of my uncle's resurfaced an issue I'd nearly forgotten. And with it the question, Why is it wrong to pray for Satan? 

This actually ties in with another subject that I've been thinking a lot about - HATRED. 

You see, we are commanded to love in both the old and new testaments and even to not want revenge -  Leviticus 19:9-18 and Matthew 5:43-48 and Romans 12: 19 
Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the Lord.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.

We know Yahweh is love - 1 John 4:8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.



YET . . . 


There are times when God clearly hates and wants us to hate. And then there's the whole issue of Satan.

Psalm 45:7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.

Psalm 97:10 Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

Psalm 139:19–22 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies. 

Hosea 9:15-17 . . . for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.

Malachi 1:2- 5 "I have loved you,” says the Lord. “Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” Says the Lord. “Yet Jacob I have loved; But Esau I have hated, And laid waste his mountains and his heritage For the jackals of the wilderness.”  Even though Edom has said, “We have been impoverished, But we will return and build the desolate places,” Thus says the Lord of hosts: “They may build, but I will throw down; They shall be called the Territory of Wickedness, And the people against whom the Lord will have indignation forever. Your eyes shall see, And you shall say, ‘The Lord is magnified beyond the border of Israel.’

In many ways these verses are disconcerting. God is love, isn't he? Then how can he hate?

But . . . God is life, too. And He has killed.

God is a judge, yet He is merciful.

God is perfect and He demands perfection in return - yet He's made a way for us even though He hates that which defies who He is.

The thing is our human minds are too small to realize God is so big and extreme and perfect that he can both hate and love, live and die, give life and take life. We forget that He is the Creator of all and thus all powerful.

And His character is comprised of so much more than what any of us can begin to comprehend.

And for those reasons He can hate.

Yet He still loves.

And, yes, in our humanness we will be innocent as I am often called in an "offensive" way. Naive and innocent. 

But is that wrong?

Matthew 10:16  Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the middle of wolves: be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Innocence and love are good things. Just as is seeking out knowledge of our Perfect Father continually. 

And as we become in tune with Him we should realize a few things:


  • Sin is real. 
  • Sin isn't that which offends me but that which violates Yahweh's character. 
  • I am to love everyone.
  • I am to hate that which He hates, not because it goes against "me" but because I am one with Him.
  • I am not to seek my own revenge or wish evil on others, but pray for those that spitefully use me. (A perfect example of this I see on a daily basis among so many other people - the news tells of how some people commit awful crimes and instead of loving that person we hope they get what they deserve and are sent to prison forever. While certain people do have the authority to do such a thing, we as a majority should never wish upon another harm, no matter what. 
  • I should always be appalled by sin. I should never allow myself to become accustomed to it because it's normal. I should always weep and pray for "Sodom and Gomorrah" praying that God spare them if there be but five righteous. I should be shocked. I should be saddened. When it comes to sin I should be innocently upset wondering, Why would anyone want to live horribly and displease God?
  • I should be wise to what is evil.
  • I should be innocent to what is evil. 
  • Above all I should be wise to what is good and true; I should be infused with love.

Romans 16:19 Your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.



No, I don't pray for Satan anymore. I trust God and His word and pray for those who have hope. I will try to hate that which Yahweh hates. I will strive to love. 

What about you? I know I just dumped a bunch of stuff here - but I REALLY want to hear all of your thoughts! 

Also, know I am not making excused to hate. The GREATEST commandment it to love. And that should be our main focus. 

Also, make sure to check out this fun interview I did with H. L. Burke (she interviewed me).

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Young And Stuck, Blogger Pride, and Crazy As Poison Ivy


Young And Stuck
He was too young to be running from the law.
Mistakes. They shouldn't affect him yet... he was just a kid. A kid holding a bank bag, running from raging sirens.

“It was a mistake,” tears squeezed from his eyes as he clutched the bank bag, wishing he could throw it far away.

He was stuck.
He didn’t know what to do, what he needed.

A place to hide. That’s all he needed before his legs turned him in.

A hospital. He ran inside. The halls were empty, full of doors. Which one would hide him? Would any? He didn’t know, so he chose one.

A whimper startled him; the boy screamed a single curse word.

“A baby,” he tried to laugh, but his nerves were too tight. He neared to the crib. “All alone?” he whispered. “I wish for your peaceful solitude. I had a baby brother. Are you a baby boy? Or a girl? I feel like I’m talking to the air.”

Footsteps exploded in the hall. The boy fell to the floor, hiding behind the crib. The door opened, a painful jolt erupted inside, against his chest.

“Babies. He’s not in here.”

The words stunned the boy, he held the bank bag before his eyes.

The door closed. He was free?

The boy stood up, leaned over the crib, and kissed the baby’s cheek. “Maybe if I still had my brother I wouldn’t be here.”

Then the boy left the room, praying this mistake wouldn’t rule him




Blogger Pride
*Did you follow it?* My friend texts me literally ten minutes after sending me the link for her new blog and asking me to follow.

*Yeah, it looks really good! Thanks for sending me the link* Everything I text is true. I’m glad she can’t see my irritation though. Truth be told I’d like to tell her that you don’t ask someone to follow your blog. That’s just not right.

*Thanks!* my phone bings, her name reappearing. *Your blog inspires me. It’s why I started mine*

I admit pride flutters inside, pushing a little of my irritation away. *That’s Sweet of you. It’s a lot of work though*

*I don’t mind work* she replies immediately. I have to smile at her enthusiasm. I remember feeling that way, back when I started blogging. Excitement. Dreams of what I might become, of all the people that would love my blog. I can forgive my friend for her joyful innocence. She’d learn... I laugh as I think how she may feel a little embarrassed at her early naivety. *Do you have any tips?*

*Yeah, make sure to interact. Reply to all comments. Comment on other blogs. Successful blogs are social*

*OK* she sends a whole string of wide smiled emojis. *Again, Thanks!*

I smile, glad I didn’t let her know my irritation. I’ll give her some more tips, but I’ll also try to remember that she isn't the only one that needs to learn.




Crazy As Poison Ivy This is a memory of mine I fictionalized
Spring was here and La’el told me that meant it was time to plant. Already she dreamed of her harvest: cabbages, zucchini, tomatoes.

I followed her, her young toddler resting on my hip.

“I’m so excited to eat everything... have you seen the hand shovel or rakes?”

“Maybe they got lost,” I smiled.

La’el glared at me, but her eyes sparkled. “Yes. Can you help me find them?”

I walked out of the garden toward the trees and leaves. I didn’t see a shovel, but something else caught my attention. I squatted near the ground, keeping the child balanced at my side. “Hey, I found something! Poison ivy!”

La’el ran out of the garden. “Keep my child away from it!!”

“Don’t worry, I won’t let her touch it.”

But La’el grabbed her child from me.

I lowered my face closer to the plants. “I never noticed this before... they look very oily.”

La’el walked away, continuing looking for a shovel.

“I wonder if you could make essential oil from them?”

La’el laughed. “And do what with it?”

“The pitch line could be, Guaranteed to give you the rash you’re itching for!”

La’el held up a small hand shovel. “Found it!”

I laughed so hard.

La’el stood over me, holding her child. “You’re crazy, and I’m keeping my child. You can dig.”
She dropped the shovel beside me.

I kept laughing, holding my stomach as I lay on the ground, much too close to the poison ivy.


Enjoy the fiction ~ or not ;) Have a great Saturday :) 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Twenty-Two and Smiling



I turned twenty-two yesterday.

I feel as if I've dropped twenty years these last couple months, if you are wondering if I feel any older.
I believe I shall be Forever Young

I have three words I love to over use in my writing. Mostly because I feel they describe my hopes and desires to a t.
But. . . these words keep growing for me, in me.
Encourage, Edify, Entertain

I've changed a lot since . . . Forever? Or have I changed . . . is it simply developing in the directions I've chosen despite what life has thrown at me?

I have moved a lot. I have hated a lot (not saying this is good).
I have laughed a lot (this is mostly good . . . maybe not the times I laughed because of mean pranks I committed or to hide away the pain I truly felt ;b).
I have had a lot of friends (yay!). 
And I have lost a ton of friends (not so yay).
I have said I'd never love. And then I loved way too much . . . only to have my heart broken. But, man, did I learn a lot through that. And still am learning from that . . .

I've learned that identity doesn't matter. That it's modern self-love propaganda. True identity is my name and what I like. I've found saying things like "I don't know myself," is foolish. Because . . . when I ask "who am I?" I'm looking at me way too hard and not nearly enough at the rest of the world, and especially not hard enough at God. No, identity searching is really stupid, because if I don't know who I am I should just check my birth certificate. If I still don't know who I am I should probably be sent to a mental institution. After that I should just stop caring about who I am and start doing something worthwhile. 

No, what matters is what am I doing and who am I loving.

I am twenty-two and I feel I've just learned to breathe in the last six months. It's the best feeling I've ever known.

Complete satisfaction in everything. Who I am (I focus on me less), what I do (just love it all even if I don't!), where I am going (even though I still don't know half the time).

And I have this sense of joy that no matter how many more bad things may happen in the rest of my life I'll always own this deep peace stemmed from utter satisfaction.

Pain, physical or emotional, may come. But that won't determine my satisfaction.

Disappointment and tears will return once more than I want. But nothing can erase the deep smile I own.

Life may slap me, rip me, destroy me. But inside I'll be full of Yahweh's peace.

I may lose everything I love. I may have my heart broken again. I may be betrayed by those I thought I could trust. Loved ones may die. I may find I'm living where I don't want to be. I may find that my work isn't ideal. I may have to deal with those I consider stupid idiots
I may become uncertain of which path I should take.

All of those are mere irritations. Tests to work through. But none of them will ever again control how I feel, who I am, or destroy the satisfied joy I own.

Pain. It is hard.

But for once in my life I am thankful I've had it.

And though I never saw myself where I am today, I love where Yahweh has lead me.

And this is seriously the happiest birthday I've ever had! I remember having really good birthdays age nine and under, but after that . . .

I feel like a child again:

Carefree, complete, called.

Most of all, I feel prepared and equipped to be true to the three words God gave me: edify, encourage, entertain.

I know He will help my words do all three to others even as His words have done and continue to do all three for me.

I continue to evaluate what these three words mean. How they interact in all I do, say, write, read, see, watch . . . you get the picture.

I love to learn. I love to be inspired. I love to laugh

So why wouldn't I love these words and want to share them to their full potential? And reap their full potential for myself?

I feel this post was really random. But sometimes happiness appears random. Especially when one lone, broken-but-now-whole idiot dances in a dark world full of stupid idiots. I'm not denying that the world is still full of horrible people doing horrible things.

They just can't kill the satisfaction.

Terrible and wonderful things are constantly happening in my life, and always will. But instead of being dragged down by all of the things I hate I'm being amazed at all the ways I'm being blessed. And wow . . . the more I look, the more I choose, the more I am truly blessed.

More on that soon ;D



Tell me your thoughts! How has life changed for you? Do you strive for satisfaction or identity? And did this post make any sense?

My four year blogiversary is coming up, and I've decided to break from my mold and follow the flow ;) How does a vlog sound with me answering questions you've asked? 
So, ask away and I'll try to make my first vlog for you guys!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

New Hair, Pretense, and Heart of Dolls




New Hair

I know we should go, my daughter and I. But I can’t manage to make myself move.
The scissors in my hand clang to the floor.

What have I done? They’re expecting us, my family. But wait until they see me.

Linnie knocks on my bedroom door, but she doesn’t wait for me to answer. She rushes in. “Mom, we’re late-“ her words change. “Your hair.”

I laugh. “Yes, Linnie. My hair.”

“It’s on the floor.” her words shatter me.

I forget about being strong and not scaring her. I start sobbing, pulling at the hair that remains on my head. For so long I loved my hair... it was my pride. I kept it long, healthy, beautiful. Now it falls through my clothes, itching my skin. It clings to the carpet floor. It’s all gone.

Linnie doesn’t freak. She’s too mature for a child. She gives me a quick hug. “We need to go.”

Somehow she drags me to the car. She fastens my seatbelt.

“It’s OK, Mom. Just drive. I’ll tell you when to turn.”

I don’t pay attention to the speedometer or road.

I thought cutting off my hair would make me feel better. Prepare me to lead a new life.

I’m still the same me; broken, betrayed.

“Mom, I feel you’re going too fast.”

“Maybe your feelings are just sensitive,” I snap. I quickly say, “Sorry.”

She’s not bothered by my words. “Everything will be OK.”

I wish she were right, but I know she’s not.





Pretense

Come on, smile, if you want.
Keep the facade alive.
For the longer you pretend to be happier the more chance you have of it being so.

Show the world you’re OK. Happiness is good. Be positive. Be positive. POSITIVE.

Nothing is bad. No negativity.

We live in the best country, the great U.S.A.
Freedom lives because we’re told it’s true.
Our prisons aren’t full of innocents — we’d never allow that.
Those that say otherwise are just cranky, trouble causers.

Everyone has a home. Everyone has a a fair chance to become more. We need to send missionaries elsewhere, for there’s none that starve or freeze among us.

All of us have the chance to make a better life just by breathing American air. No injustice, no wrong, no premature death.

We are a selfless people living for liberty, respect, unity.

Happy. Be happy. Choose to be happy.
Take more pills if you’re not quite happy.
Drink. Party.

Pretend there’s nothing to be done.
Believe the lies.
Smile.

Rights turned into privileges. What does it matter?

Care. Who cares?
What is there to care about?
Nothing.
Nothing is wrong with you, with the world, with us.

Just keep smiling. Keep playing the game of a perfect, privileged life.





Heart of Dolls

“Do you ever feel life is like a game?” Paige asked Grandma.

“No. But then I take life seriously. Unlike most young people.” Grandma's eyes never left her yarn and needles amidst her flying fingers.

Paige stared out the living-room window, deep in thought, ignoring her Grandma's insult. That's why they made such a good pair. Paige could ask ridiculous things, Grandma could be blunt, and neither ever felt offended.

Going to Grandma's helped Paige to be able to think. Right now she had so much to think about. “I told Seth he's being stupid. I couldn’t help myself.”

“Of course, Paige. If one could help themselves they wouldn't need Jesus. You need to let others help you.”

Paige turned away from the window, “Grandma, I'm being serious.”

Grandma dropped her knitting, raising her eyebrows. “You are? I heard you say life is a game.”

Paige laughed. “Yes. I meant to say that others seem to treat it that way. 'Do this, say this, follow these rules, then stuff will happen and you'll finish amazingly.' Don't you ever get tired of just moving a long with the crowd?”

“Yep. That's why I left the crowd years ago. Paige, life isn't a game, but people have become dolls. And that's why you feel that way.”

“Dolls?”

“And,” Grandma resumed knitting. “They all have the hearts of dolls, too.”

“Dolls don't have hearts-”

“Exactly,” Grandma chuckled. “But they sure look pretty, don't they? Pretty and perfect. But inside they have no spunk.”


I feel today's flash fictions are just really weird. But maybe you'll like one of them or all of them. The middle one really isn't fiction . . . but I won an honorable mention for it at the place I write all of this stuff for ;D Have a great Saturday, everyone! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Captured From Bondage




Following God is simple, and it's complex.

It's easy. It's hard.

It's all about relationship. But we'd be lying if we said God doesn't have rules, guidelines, expectations.

What does this relationship look like, this business of following Yahweh and Yeshua, our God and our Messiah?

Some say it's a liberal love. It is. Some think God's way is legalistic. If you term legalism a perfect standard that can't be changed, then that would be true. If you term legalism as following standards rather than God then you would be wrong.

Rules aren't bad. Serving rules is bad.

Following God means following Him, including His ways (rules). But to only follow His rules is so empty. Who follows rules without a master? That would be like following a master without rules. Both methods alone are pointless and inefficient.

Balance. It's a balanced paradox. Not too liberal. Not too legalistic. Just perfect... judging by love, free to serve, following God in obedience.

When we follow God we find that at last we are free... free to serve.

We may choose our master.

But we may not choose the consequences. Though our choices may affect the consequences we receive.

Life, no matter what we do, is a constant paradox.

But that doesn't mean it can't make sense. No, a true paradox can still be explained, if not philosophically at least through scripture. The greatest paradox of God is that no matter how unreal His ways may appear they are reality, truth, life.

We were free to sin. Yet God's truth and love captured us from bondage so we might serve Him rather than Satan.

I love words. I love ideas. And I really love that following God is so much deeper than just living for self, following selfish dreams, following our heart.

I love how almost every Christian denomination sees part of the picture clearly. I'm sad that almost every denomination sees most of the picture wrong. We get too hung up over our own interpretations, or even other men's interpretations. Instead of listening to what God has to say through His own words.

Following God takes thought. And all at once it takes no thought... we just do as He says. There's no need to worry, to stress over what's right, what's wrong? because He's spelled it out for us to read and learn and follow.

It's all about love. But what is love? It's all about God. But who is God? We know freedom in God. But what does this freedom look like? 

Each truth raised another question that we may know only through God's answers. That's the beauty of it... we know Him more by continuing the curiosity of, "Yes, but what does that look like?"

And the paradox grows even more with this amazing verse on works vs faith.

But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works." ~ James 2:18 NAS


What paradoxes of life amaze you?
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