Thursday, December 31, 2009

Church Signs...

Sometimes I shake my head and sometimes I just chuckle when I pass church signs. I cannot for the life of me figure out what the purpose is to signs like:

"Let the Jewish Carpenter Build Your Dream Home"

Is is supposed to make me want to visit that church? Become a Christian? Admire the writer? Sometimes Bob and I just look at each other and laugh because they are so ridiculous. I mean,

"God answers knee-mail."

How does that help build the Christian faith?
But, we saw the head-shaker of all head-shakers on a recent trip we took. The sign actually said, and I wrote it down so I would get it right,

"Would you rather suffer in this life or the next?"

I am not kidding.
They actually posted that! Makes you want to become a Christian doesn't it? It makes me think that if I was not a Christian I would think all Christians were a bit off, you know?

I would love to hear from you. What are your favorite or least favorite or the most shocking church signs you have seen? What do you think about them? Good for Christendom? Or kind of the butt of Christian jokes?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Craft Fair

I have been getting ready for the Wilmore Old Fashion Christmas craft fair for quite some time. I had stocked my shelves, labeled my Prairie Kari products, hauled tables, shelves and assorted display items from the barn at our farm, and was finally ready Saturday. Bob and I arrived at the seminary gym about 7:30 am and began setting up while small snowflakes swirled in the air.

A couple of friends and I shared a two booth space and it was amazing how quickly our booth came together. I think it was the best attended fair yet and my profits rose about 35% over last year! And let me tell you--that is a LOT of soap.

I think the most rewarding thing for me is when people come back to buy more soap and tell me great stories of how their acne, psoriasis, eczema, etc. was helped by using my soap. One lady's young son is allergic to coconut oil [which is in about every type of soap]. She was thrilled to see my natural detergent did not contain any coconut oil and to be able to buy some non-coconut oil soap.

Other people were so excited to see Goat Milk soap with no scent--because they are sensitive to any scents.

One lady had to buy several bars if soap for her dad in Indiana because he got some last year [I remembered him] and told her to be sure to buy him some this year.

All and all a satisfying experience and I reduced my inventory considerably.

Take care,
[Photos, top to bottom: soap in my shelves in my office; tubs packed up and ready to go; front leg of table with felted soap and lip balm; full booth; back table; lip balm; my friend Jenny's note card section of our booth.]

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Strangest Christmas Card...

I love Christmas and one of the things I love most is Christmas Cards. Many people are cutting back on cards or eliminating the sending of cards. I know they are expensive and time consuming, but to me they are a part of Christmas.

Let me say, that we send out a LOT of cards. We send out about 300 personal cards a year--cards that the kids used to help me make, but now I do them pretty much as a solo experience! As I fold and mail each one, I think about the recipients and how they have enriched our lives and many times I pray for them as I seal each envelope. We don't get nearly that many back--and I don't keep track who sends and who doesn't--but I will venture to say we have gotten thousands upon thousands of Christmas cards through the years.

Reading the cards and family newsletters I can usually imagine the sender sitting at their kitchen table having a cup of coffee and enjoying Christmas as much as I do. Many times I can tell who sent the card just by looking at the front picture because it reflects the sender's personality to a tee.

I will admit, that Christmas cards generally have the same theme: Jesus, good will, happy holidays. Until the card we received this week.

THIS card, sent by a childhood friend of my octogenarian father-in-law, is a card to remember. I will try to describe it so you can see it in your mind's eye [I hate to post a photo because I am going to change the name of the sender to protect his privacy].

Picture a card that looks like the front of a small white Bible--fancy, like a child's confirmation Bible. It has ribbon rose on the front and a gold pin in the shape of a cross fastened to it. The words say, "The Fisher Family Bible."

I opened the card to find what looks like an open Bible, still white with lots of gold trim and more red ribbon roses strewn across the middle of the open book.

The left side says:
"'I bring you good news of great joy for everyone!' [So far, so good!]
'The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David!'~Luke 2:10"

The right side says:
"God has written each of us into the Christmas story as we turn to Jesus--our Savior, Messiah, and Lord. Merry Christmas from Alex."

All the words, including the first and last name are part of the card, specially ordered. There is no handwriting at all, everything is totally pre-printed.

When you turn this little imitation Bible over, in a neat handwritten text, it says:
"Forget Jesus...--Have compassion for the poor and sick...--Living."

What? Forget the Savior and Lord he has just proclaimed in the "Family Bible." Forget Jesus who said the greatest command is "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself," and then proceeded to tell the story of the hated Samaritan who showed more compassion to the sick than the priest did?

Jesus who loved the children, fed the poor, showed compassion to the masses. Forget Jesus who gave His life so ALL may find salvation--the poor as well as the rich, the sick as well as the healthy, the gentiles as well as the Jews? If we forget Jesus, do we forget His message too? Isn't Jesus the author of having compassion for the poor and the sick?

I guess maybe the sender means to put your faith into action. Or maybe it means that this tired man is sick of those who proclaim Jesus, testify about Jesus and try to get you "saved" but then they ignore social issues. I understand that. I understand frustration with the religious establishment. I understand disgust with "good Christian people" who really aren't. I understand wanting to see more compassion. But Forget Jesus?

May it never be!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009


We all know the importance of adding whole grains to our diets, but sometimes it is hard to actually incorporate many into a face-paced lifestyle. I have two suggestions that are relatively easy and very tasty.

The first is to use brown Basmati rice instead of white or par-boiled rice. It has a rich, nutty flavor and has the most nutrition of any type of rice. I make it when we have black beans and rice for supper and then use the left over rice for rice pudding. It cooks up great in a rice cooker, just use 2 parts water to 1 part rice. I usually rinse it before I put it in the water to rinse off a bit of the starch. It is delicious! You will never go back to boring old white rice again. You can buy basmati rice at health food stores and many bulk food stores. It is more expensive than white or brown rice, but still a food bargain.

The second suggestion is to make your own whole grain pancakes. Topped with applesauce, this is about as healthy as breakfast gets. My favorite recipe comes from The Sue Gregg Cookbooks--and all you need is some grain and a blender.

Five Minute Pancakes

In blender place in order listed and blend on high speed for 3 minutes.
[Warning, you will need a good quality blender]

1 1/2 C buttermilk, or fruit juice or water [to make buttermilk you can add 1.5 Tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup and then add enough regular milk to make 1 1/2 Cups]
1 egg, optional
2 Tablespoons olive or canola oil [for crispness]
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Cup of grain in group 1 and 1/2 C grain from group 2
[or use 1/2 C of three different grains]

Use 1 Cup from Group 1:
  • Kamut
  • millet [especially light]
  • brown rice [light]
  • corn [dry whole, not corn meal]
  • wheat [soft wheat pastry type]
  • kasha [roasted buckwheat]
  • spelt
  • barley
AND use 1/2 Cup of Group 2:
  • oats [rolled or whole]
  • millet
  • brown rice
  • kamut
  • corn
  • wheat
  • kasha
  • spelt
  • barley
Blend for 3 minutes at high. Heat frying pan [about 325 degrees if you are using an electric frying pan] and spray with a cooking oil spray. When your pan is hot, blend into the grain mixture for about 5-10 seconds:

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
[batter will start to rise, so quickly pour some into frying pan]

Optional: For lighter cakes, separate 2 eggs, add yolks to blender. Beat whites separately until stiff and then fold into batter just before baking.

This may sound a bit complicated, but really it is easy if you have a good blender. The pancakes are light and tasty. If you don't have any whole grains, go to a bulk food or health food store and buy a pound of a few varieties [usually in health food stores you can buy them in bulk]. I like to use soft wheat, oats, kamut and spelt, but have used rice and buckwheat. I have saved the batter in a jar in the fridge and fryed it up days later with good results.

Take care,