28 November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving and Hanukkah!

It was snowing so prettily this morning, the coffee brought out the poet (and a bit of a sentimental abolitionist) within me. Happiest Thanksgiving (and Hanukkah) to you, my dear friends!

I'll tell you what actually happened today,
Once the sun was awake and the clouds flew away:
The stars looked down and saw the earth,
And shook themselves free from their twilit berths;
They came whirling and floating and dancing on down,
And scarcely a one did touch even the ground,
And the sun shone bright as they twinkled and swirled,
For the starry heavens had given the world
Just the tiniest glimpse of the wonders of night,
When their star-snow-diamonds took to flight;
And the day did sparkle and glimmer and glisten,
But did seeing eyes see, and hearing ears listen?

The multitudes hurried along their way,
Shouting good cheer and bustling all day
To prepare the way for the holidays
With grim obligation and mindless glaze,
Because, "Really, there's so much work to be done,
And there's a high modern standard for good modern fun,
Which doesn't involve too much head, soul, or heart;
Just money and things and photographable art,
And running and rushing and doing and going
And performing" -- and wait; do you see it's still snowing?
Those glistening flakes do give my heart a whirl,
But maybe I'm just too old-fashioned a girl.

Whate'er your opinion, I believe it to be
A sign from above, meant for you, them, and me.
As the Father of Lights giveth good gifts to each,
Contented thanks-giving is not out of our reach.
The Light of the world doth illuminate all;
Lift your eyes, and behold; His great goodness recall.

-akj, 28 nov 2013 ❤

21 November 2013

Tack, O Gud.

tonight i was looking, playing, reading, and singing through our old covenant hymnal. as it is nearly thanksgiving, this one caught my eye. [also, it's original text was in swedish, which is a fool-proof annie trap, really: anything in swedish.] i made up a new little tune for it, and put together three quick tracks on garageband. it's been a long time since i've done anything of the kind.

it sums up a long season, and unfailing lovingkindness Himself.
Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and dreary fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!
Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered, Thanks for what Thou dost deny! Thanks for storms that I have weathered, Thanks for all Thou dost supply! Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure, Thanks for comfort in despair! Thanks for grace that none can measure, Thanks for love beyond compare!
Thanks for roses by the wayside, Thanks for thorns their stems contain! Thanks for home and thanks for fireside, Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain! Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow, Thanks for heavenly peace with Thee! Thanks for hope in the tomorrow, Thanks through all eternity! Amen.
-August Ludvig Storm, 1891 (Translated by Carl E. Backstrom 1901-?)

14 November 2013

On brokenness.

“Those who are broken in wealth, and broken in self-will, and broken in their ambitions, and broken in their beautiful ideals, and broken in worldly reputation, and broken in affections, and broken ofttimes in health; those who are despised and seem utterly forlorn and helpless, the Holy Ghost is seizing upon, and using for God’s glory. 'The lame take the prey,' Isaiah tells us.”

--Streams in the Desert

05 November 2013

There is nothing

More glorious

Than the first

Day of snow.

03 November 2013

It's like apple pie.

Sometimes you just really want dessert. But when most dairy products make you sick, and gluten is bad for you, and sugar gives you a whopping headache (and/or all of the above are taboo), you have to improvise.

So here's the deal.

Slice up an apple or two from the tree outside.
Slide a little butter into a small pan, and let it melt.
Add the apples, a couple packs of Truvia, and a big old sprinkle of cinnamon, and simmer away.
As an afterthought, crumble some walnuts on top and let them get all warm and cozy in the apples. (Or better yet, toast the walnuts in the pan before you add anything else.)
Add more cinnamon, because cinnamon is awesome.
Once the nuts are warm and the apples are soft and gooey, scoop them into a bowl and top them with a big dollop of plain Greek yogurt. And more cinnamon. 
(The trick with the yogurt is that it adds protein, to balance out the carbs in the apples, and an undeniable creamy factor, since ice cream is, like, verboten.)

Voila! Tastes like amazing apple crisp, with no sugar or gluten, high protein (yogurt plus walnuts), a little fat (which is good for you, and even tastes like butter, because it is), and some good carbs (fresh picked apples). Ok, and cinnamon obviously adds the unmistakable flavor of fall, and is good for your memory, or something. I forget. (Which is kind of hilarious because I eat a lot of cinnamon, so I ought to remember). 

It's November! 

(I also had a little coffee today; can you tell?)

Life is totally worth enjoying in November. 

02 November 2013

Samuel Longfellow, 1864

I look to Thee in every need,
And never look in vain;
I feel Thy strong and tender love,
And all is well again:
The thought of Thee is mightier far
Than sin and pain and sorrow are.

Discouraged in the work of life,
Disheartened by its load,
Shamed by its failures or its fears,
I sink beside the road;
But let me only think of Thee
And then new heart springs up in me.

Thy calmness bends serene above,
My restlessness to still;
Around me flows Thy quickening life,
To nerve my faltering will;
Thy presence fills my solitude;
Thy providence turns all to good.

Embosomed deep in Thy dear love,
Held in Thy law, I stand;
Thy hand in all things I behold,
And all things in Thy hand;
Thou leadest me by unsought ways,
And turn'st my mourning into praise.