February 29, 2012

Another School Shooting

This time outside Cleveland, Ohio. Some initial news reports say that the gunman was bullied by the five victims he specifically targeted. Later reports say that he fired randomly. The gunman did not commit suicide, has confessed to the act and some articles report that 3 of the 5 have died from their injuries.

The media will make victims out of all involved - the bullies and the gunman. The media will also reassure parents that this is an isolated incident and is not typical of that school district.

The media lies.

When a curriculum teaches that we descend from pond scum and have no accountability to a higher Creative power, that all life is in a perpetual contest for the survival of the fittest, this is what happens. The truth is that both the bullies and the gunman are guilty.

Parents will continue to send their children back into that school. Parents will continue to send their children into the government school system believing and praying that it will never happen in their school.

This is just another reason why I will never, ever, send my precious babies into a godless, secular system to become a mindless mob of human resources for the industrial elite.

February 28, 2012

Created To Be His Help Meet

This book by Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy ministries is intended for women desiring to have a joyful and glorious marriage.

I consider that this book works very well to target and address the wife's attitudes and responses to her husband. However the content is a somewhat watered down version of The Excellent Wife. The gimmicks in this book -- different text fonts, pictures, and lots of eye-catching pop outs -- turn me off.

There are many critical points with which I agree with Pearl. Throughout the work, Pearl is attempting to plea to women to change their attitudes and their responses to their husbands. Regardless of what kind of treatment the women receive from their husbands, as believers, we honor Christ when we honor our husbands, whether they believe or not. Our attitudes should be filled with joy, gratitude and appreciation for what he does do. When we serve and obey our husbands we do so as unto Christ.

Another strong point she makes is that our role as help meets is to come along side and help our husbands in the vocation to which they are called. This means that we are not to make our husbands pick up a vocation we would prefer for him or ourselves, but to aid him in what he is doing, in his dreams and aspirations. And she also makes a good point about each of our marriages being designed by God, that it is no mistake that you are with your husband even if you were in rebellion when you decided to wed. And therefore, you should serve him now as unto Christ.

My main criticism with this work is the interpretation of certain Scriptures. For example, at Creation Debi considers Satan to have fallen by the time God had completed the work of Creation and declared it all to be "very good." The Hebrew indicates that this phrase has a very strong particular emphasis to mean extremely good or perfect, without schism, fault or imperfection. How could God declare all of Creation (which includes the heavenly beings also) "very good" if Satan and 1/3 of the angels had already fallen by that time? In another instance, she states that Bathsheba was a cunning seductress looking for the perfect opportunity to lead vulnerable, near perfect King David astray when the Biblical text does not indicate anything of that sort. She is a very controversial Biblical figure, but to imply something that the text does not explicitly state is deceptive.

Because of this, the wise and discerned reader should take this work with a grain of salt.

The Excellent Wife is much more appropriate for the mature, wifely audience it's designed for. It is not filled with gimmicks. There is a more wholistic, nouthetic, Biblically systematic approach to the role of the woman in the context of marriage. The Excellent Wife can be a difficult read because it is convicting and rightly divides and applies the Scriptures. If you would like to read Excellent Wife, but feel that you need to wade a little before jumping off the diving board: read Help Meet. If you want to go straight for the deep end: read Excellent Wife. Both are convicting and both will basically say the same thing, but for many women The Excellent Wife is written with more straight talk and less filler. Previously I've heard mixed reviews from friends about Help Meet and nothing but praise and conviction about The Excellent Wife.

February 26, 2012

How Can I Keep From Singing?

Eva Cassidy

Her husband plays the cool violin lick. Enjoy.




February 25, 2012

Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

1st Movement, Allegro

I've played this so many times eventually it becomes the bane of a string quartet's repertoire.




February 24, 2012

February 23, 2012

Bach: Brandenburg #5

All movements are included in this 21 minute video.


February 22, 2012

February 21, 2012

February 20, 2012

Cheesy Chimichangas

The presentation


The hidden goods


Oh so yummy! I fell in love with chicken chimichangas at El Sombrero restaurants. This beef version is healthier because it's baked instead of fried and these are so very cheap to make. To make it more like the restaurant, you could pour that wonderful white queso over them to serve. My mouth is still watering!

I only used one pound of ground beef, 1/2 an onion, garlic powder and sea salt. Enjoy!

Cheesy Chimichangas
1.5 pounds lean ground beef
2 large onions, chopped
2 tsps garlic salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
8 (8-inch) soft flour tortillas
2 tbs vegetable oil, divided
16 oz salsa
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded Monty Jack cheese
Shredded lettuce & chopped tomatoes
Guacamole dip

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease or lightly coat 13x9 dish with nonstick spray; set aside.
Cook and stir beef & onions in large skillet over med-high heat until no longer pink. Drain and discard fat. Stir in garlic salt & pepper.
Brush one side of each tortilla with oil. Spoon 1/4 cup beef off center on oiled side. Top beef with 1 tbs each of salsa, Cheddar and Monty Jack cheeses. Fold ends of tortilla to middle, then roll tightly around to seal. Place in prepared dish seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Brush tops with remaining oil.
Bake uncovered 10-15 min or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 2-3 min longer to melt cheese.
Serve warm on bed of lettuce & tomatoes. Spoon remaining salsa over chimichangas. Serve with guacamole, if desired.


February 16, 2012

Birthday Happenings

Sunday, 12 February was my 31st Birthday and I was showered all weekend long. Overall, I don't feel much older, but I definitely feel very blessed.

Friday afternoon, Grandma Jane drove up from Statesboro and took all the girls to G'Wanda's house to spend the night. During our quiet evening home, Jeramy grilled NY Strip steaks with fresh tossed salad and a baked potato on the side. We celebrated with sparkling grape juice and I made frozen virgin Pina Coladas! It was so yummy! We haven't grilled steaks in a long time.

Saturday morning I slept in, then Jeramy cooked breakfast. He saved some of his steak and prepared steak and egg breakfast burritos complete with salsa, sour cream, cheddar cheese and cilantro!


After some quiet reading, I permed my hair and baked some homemade crescent rolls and smore's muffins. Then we headed over to G'Wanda's house where all the women prepared a special Birthday dinner: Noonie's chicken over rice served with french green beans, tossed salad and cake and ice cream, of course. The girls helped prepare, frost and decorate the cake! It looks great, doesn't it?!


I also had some red velvet cupcakes from a gourmet shop and they were mighty tasty too!


G'Wanda presented her gift: a 3 gallon professional stainless steel pot by Cuisinart! It's so pretty! We have several pots that go from about 3 cups up to about 1 gallon and then an extra large pot that holds about 6 gallons, but we have no pot in between. Now we do! It's even dishwasher safe!


Grandma Jane gifted me with some spending money and the girls gave me a lovely card where Moriah signed her own name! It was great.

Sunday I was recognized with many wishes for a Happy Birthday and it was happy indeed. I was very thankful for the love and appreciation expressed over the weekend and on the very day. God has blessed me with wonderful family members and a church family with whom I can worship and fellowship regularly. And most of all I'm thankful for the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and the work of God's grace that caused me to repent and believe. I pray all of your birthdays throughout this year are just as blessed.

February 15, 2012

The Dentist!

On Friday, 10 February, Moriah and Lily had their very first dentist visit! I had prepared them for about 3 weeks by telling them what the dentist will do and what they will have to do.

The day finally came and I was so impressed with how brave they were and how well they behaved! They didn't kick, cry or scream. They didn't even whine or complain the whole time we were there! I can't believe it!

Moriah went first and sat in the big chair. She opened her mouth wide and followed all the instructions from the hygienist and the dentist. She received a good report. She doesn't have any cavities, but we have to be very diligent in her brushing habits.


Here she is sitting in the big chair!



Here's Moriah getting a routine cleaning from Keyma, the hygienist.



Here is Moriah getting a check up from Dr. Carney, the dentist.


Lily and I were watching close by the whole time. Lily kept asking excitedly when it was going to be her turn! She wasn't scared at all. Finally her turn came and she was just as brave! Lily had a little more cleaning work to be done and sat very quietly while the hygienist thoroughly cleaned her teeth. Neither did Lily have any cavities and both she and Moriah each have 20 teeth.

Lily: sitting in the big chair



Here are Lily and Keyma



Here is Lily with the dentist, Dr. Carney.



Here's Moriah, Lily and Keyma, all with big smiles to remember this first visit.



I was so impressed with their good behavior, I have to be careful not to become too proud about it. :-D

February 14, 2012

February 13, 2012

Practice & Performance

If you're a musician, or even a public speaker, really what is the difference between private practice and public performance?

There are some very important differences. For instance, when you practice, the atmosphere can range from very casual to high stress depending upon the pressures of time constraints and much of that can be self-inflicted. Performing in public can create more anxiety because lots of people are watching you and you appear to be vulnerable. There can be a lot of pressure created when several pairs of eyes are watching. What can make me nervous is thinking about all of the expectations of my audience. But in reality, most audiences expectations are much lower than what I anticipate. I practice so that I'm over-prepared, with a high level of self-inflicted stress and when the time comes to perform, I relax as much as possible.

But this morning as I played at Shadowbrook Baptist as a guest, it occurred to me how important it is to practice your performance. By that I mean maintaining the level of attentiveness while practicing that you would while performing. While performing in front of an audience and a mistake occurs or the quality is not as well as it could be, immediately adjust so that it does not continue but improves as the piece progresses. If you practice in such a way to maintain a high level of attentiveness while practicing privately, then you accomplish two things. One, the amount of practice time required to master a new piece is greatly reduced. And second, the technique of recovery is also mastered effectively.

Practice does not make perfect.
Practice makes permanent.

This is true beyond the musical realm into personal character disciplines. What is practiced becomes habit. Then it is done without convictions or reservations; it becomes automatic. The same thing with mistakes. When you practice without paying full attention to what you're doing, it may be better just to take a break, refresh your mind and come back when you can be fully attentive. Playing through a piece from beginning to end, over and over again, without stopping to correct your mistakes wastes time and makes it more difficult to correct later. If you make playing the correct way the permanent habit of playing, then your time is being maximized to it's fullest potential.

February 12, 2012

February 9, 2012

Yes, But Currently . . .

"I want to re-introduce you to Meggan, whom you've already heard play this morning. She is the daughter of Wanda Jackson, a beloved member of our church. Meggan received her Bachelor's degree in Violin Performance from George Mason University and her Master's in Music from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. She loves the Lord and has been a joy to meet. Please make her feel welcome as she comes again to bless us."

~applause~

Yes, all of that is true but my life is not defined by the schooling I completed 6 years ago. Currently, by God's grace, I serve my husband by keeping our home and educating our children. This is my true and perpetual calling as a woman, wife and mother. The business of marriage and family is much more important than a music education. This mission is my top priority behind which all other pursuits take a back seat. The vocational ministry I do in my home will endure for generations and echo throughout eternity. It doesn't stop if I break a finger or when I die.

A congregation may be touched in less than three minutes by playing a wooden box in a church building. The tones communicated through the sound system and reverberated off the walls can sway those souls toward Christ today and the event may be remembered for a few days or even a few weeks. But serving my family daily until age and decay dictates that I'm no longer able, will bear such a greater weight of glory than a temporary mastery of a wooden box whether that's over three minutes or thirty years.

It's a great testimony. Yes, I'm talented. Yes, I have cultivated that talent through acquiring many additional skills through countless hours of private instruction, practice and public performances. But, like a growing number of women, I have placed the Word of God and His charge to be a submissive wife and nurturing mother first and foremost over the constant attendance of a lifeless wooden box. This testimony demonstrates the grace of God, the power of Jesus Christ risen from the dead. Receiving the gift of faith unto salvation is a miraculous work. But a great number of women today who have been so blessed of God to receive it, still cling to feminist ideology when the Author and Perfecter of our faith has clearly shown in His Word what He desires for us as women to do. Women are challenged to be obedient to the Word in its entirety, not just in the passages that are agreeable or convenient and to embrace its truth with joy and conviction.

The glory of a career will always dull in comparison to the glory of children and grandchildren who walk in obedience to the LORD. When the days are difficult and the children put me at wits end, I look back and complain, "I'm talented, intelligent, articulate and well educated. I could have done this or that and been successful. Then I wouldn't be dealing with this right now." But then I remember how lonely I was. And I consider that I would be no better off than all of those other feminists who become grumpy, bitter, lonely old women who only have their "success" to keep them company at night. That "success" does not endure to the next generation - it ends at their retirement. Now they are purposeless and bored. They look back with regrets and a sense of hopelessness.

I don't want to be one of those women. I want to be obedient to Christ even if it stands in direct opposition to what society tells me I should be doing instead. I fear God, not the looks of disdain behind pointed fingers and whispered name-calling between critical gossips. God will vindicate me as He has for many other women who choose the same. It is a high and noble calling to embrace being a wife and mother. There are so many moments of joy - I wouldn't trade it for anything the musical or corporate world could offer. This is what those grumpy, bitter, lonely old women come to realize, but for many of them . . . it's too late.

When lying on my death bed, will I ask for my violin to provide comfort as I journey from this physical body to the spiritual realm? No! I will ask to be surrounded by the people that had the greatest impact on my life: my beloved husband, my precious children, my faithful mother and my brothers and sisters in Christ. This is a true statement you can take to the bank: Feminism is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.

~~~~~
In Matthew 6:24 Jesus said,
"No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money."



February 8, 2012

Pregnancy Update: 21 Weeks




Today I had an appointment for an Ultrasound in addition to seeing the OB doctor. I brought the girls along and a friend to observe, leaving Jeramy at home to enjoy the peace and quiet of an empty house for a few hours.

The ultrasounds are always so much fun! You have real-time pictures of what's going on inside the womb. It's truly amazing. The baby is about the size of the palm of your hand and weighs a little less than one pound. We were able to see the baby move and observe his or her beating heart.

It's such a wonder to me how a human could be so small and still be so complete!


February 7, 2012

Bananas in Pajamas

February 6, 2012

Tighty Whities

Here she's getting ready to change into pajamas. This picture shows her two new teeth very well, the fourth one in the front on your right and the matching molar just behind it. The molar on the left is coming in also.

February 5, 2012

Shrimp Tostadas!


Oh so yummy! I really, really enjoyed this meal. It was almost like eating at a restaurant, except I prepared, served and cleaned up myself. :-) But that's what makes it a fraction of the cost! :-D

Jeramy bought me a recipe book, Mexican at Home: Favorite Restaurant-Style Recipes, for Christmas and that's where this recipe comes from. The publishers collected recipes from well-known companies using their name brand food products. This one is from Ortega.

Shrimp Tostadas

1 pound cooked shrimp, peeled & deveined
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup chopped white onion
4 oz can diced green chiles
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons lime juice
16 oz can refried beans, warmed
10 count tostada shells, warmed
2 & 1/2 cups shredded lettuce

Combine shrimp, tomatoes, onions, chiles, cilantro, oil & lime juice in a bowl; cover.
Spread about 2 tablespoons of beans on each tostada shell. Top with 1/4 cup lettuce and 1/2 cup shrimp mixture. Makes 10 servings. Time from start to finish: 15 minutes.

The shrimp mixture may be prepared in advance, covered & refrigerated.


Because Jeramy likes warm dinner meals & because I'm pregnant, I tossed the shrimp mixture in a non-stick skillet until steaming before layering on top the lettuce. I also added diced avocado and served with rice. It was excellent! Enjoy!

February 3, 2012

Saturday Strings: Lindsey Stirling

When dancer & violinist combine, this is who you get . . .

Ladies & Gentlemen,

Ms. Lindsey Stirling



February 2, 2012

Greensleeves

The Annie Moses Band




http://www.anniemosesband.com

February 1, 2012

A Blast From the Past

Most of you reading this will not remember personally going through a period without some of the modern conveniences we've come to take for granted. Like a dish washing machine and a clothes washing machine, for example. Over the past week, we've had such a trip back into the ice age before modern technology created these wonderful time-saving devices.

My husband and I purchased a Kitchen Aid Stainless Steel two-drawer dishwasher when we moved into our new house a little over two years ago. When my parents remodeled their kitchen in early 2000 they replaced their dishwasher with a Fisher & Paykel double drawer model and I appreciated it so much, I convinced Jeramy to get one. Well, we've had trouble with it from day 1 but I still enjoy using it very much.

For several months it had been making a terrible grinding noise when the top drawer was in a washing cycle. Then last week it decided not to drain the water out after rinsing. It would wash the dishes, but the water would remain in the machine afterwards. It is still under warranty and so we had a part ordered and a man was to come and install it, Tuesday. That was almost one full week away! The bottom drawer still worked, but alone, it only washes about 1/2 a load of dishes.

In the meantime, Saturday night after washing a load of clothes, the washing machine would not drain the water either! We did not have any other issues with non-draining in the house (toilets, sinks, etc.) so now, something was wrong with the washing machine. It was full of clean towels and clean water. It did not spin and it would not agitate. For some reason it stopped mid-cycle. You can imagine our frustration having two expensive major appliances out of commission and possibly costing a pretty penny to fix or replace. After viewing some YouTube videos, Jeramy ordered a part he thought might fix it. Well, it would not arrive until Tuesday also! We have three children and use cloth diapers!

During the time without those appliances I went about the house trying to figure out how to spend my time apart from doing laundry & the dishes! I kept thinking about how I wash going to wash clothes in the bath tub or travel with them to our neighbor's house. Well, we got by without and Tuesday finally came.

The Geek Squad technician from Best Buy arrived and fixed our dishwasher. Now it hums quietly just like new! How wonderful!! The part Jeramy ordered also arrived and after he got home, after several YouTube videos and about 2 hours later, Jeramy fixed the washing machine, too! He's so proud of himself that we didn't have to spend any more than $30 on an expert to come fix our washing machine. And because the dishwasher was still under warranty, we didn't have to pay for that repair either!

I'm so thankful to have working machines again! Today I've never been more excited about doing laundry than the whole time we've been married!