Friday, January 31, 2014

In the Image of God: Food Art

Food Art:  see more here.

Celery Forest

Chrysler Building


Lettuce Sea


Meat Factory

Onion Taj Mahal

Salmon Sea

Monday, January 27, 2014

Music Monday: Avi Avital

Chris Thile may have met his match?!  Thanks to Randy for bringing Avi to my attention back in the summertime. 



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Saving Mr. Banks

The stories of Helen Goff (P.L. Travers), Mary Poppins,  and Walt Disney, as they intersect in the making of the movie, are interwoven into a poignant tale about the healing power of imagination and story in redeeming the past.

And that's all I've got to say about that, because my words will only detract from its beauty.  Go see it.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Music Monday: The Tillers

The Tillers, the second  opening act for Pokey during his recent STL performance, are made up of 3 guys from Minnesota who have a dynamic stage presence and are musically proficient.  The lead guy plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, harmonica, and...kazoo.  Give a listen.

A ballad:

A bluegrass tune:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Foodie Friday: The Barn

Check out the hospitality and simple home-cooked fare at The Barn, located on the grounds of The Sappington House - just south of Grant's Trail on Sappington Road.  Take your seat in the farmhouse-like dining room or on the rustic patio overlooking the SH grounds to relax and enjoy their Quiche-of-the-Day (always good!), some Barn Browns, and a piece of fresh pie.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Scottish Chiefs

This tale of a valorous warrior who esteems honor above glory and who dispenses mercy more liberally than judgement, will captivate any who take it up.  Male, female, young and old alike will find their hearts stirred...longing to know or BE this Philosopher-Warrior-Lover-King with The Brave Heart.

Jane Porter magnificently, in language worthy of the story's elevated plot and characters, brings to life the 13th century Scottish countryside and people in her narrative of war, friendship, and endless intrigue.   The elegant language, the  heroic feats, and the plot twists keep the reader riveted to the page long after lights out. 

Edward's Odyssey

"I have learned how to love.  And it's a terrible thing.  I'm broken.  My heart is broken." 

Edward is proud, smitten with his own fineness.  Though he sometimes dreams about bigger and better ventures outside his four walls, he is almost as satisfied with his life as he is with himself.

One day Edward's whole world is turned upside down.  He experiences tragic loss after tragic loss and wishes desperately for wings to fly away from his troubles, but Edward is paralyzed...lifeless.  He has to be rescued by others over and over again.

These losses rob Edward of his dignity and diminish his beauty, but they also trigger his need for others.  Through this series of deaths and resurrections Edward becomes increasingly alive, moving from indifference - even scorn - toward those who love him, to appreciation, to fondness, to caring, and love.  Edward still wants wings, but he no longer wants them so he can fly away from his troubles but to fly to someone he loves.

But love isn't the end.  In fact, Edward quickly learns that love leads to hope and hope to disappointment and disappointment to sorrow and sorrow to despair.  Can anyone rescue him from that place?

This thoughtful and beautifully-illustrated story will delight both you and your children.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Music Monday: Cactus Blossoms

These brothers were one of two bands that opened for Pokey Lafarge at Casa Loma in December 2013.   I've heard them compared to The Everly Brothers, Hank Williams, and Asleep at the Wheel.  All I can say is...YES.  

Meet The Cactus Blossoms:

Puritan Paperbacks

I'm not sure exactly how my view of the Puritans has been formulated over the years...actually, it's been more of a perception than a view.   They are revered in some segments of Christianity, yet often portrayed as harsh, moralistic, and arrogant by others.   I suspect that partial quotes and anecdotal evidence have influenced public opinion, but I also suspect their reputation might not be entirely unearned. I have not yet taken the time to study their lives and formulate an opinion.  There is much I don't know.

What I DO know, is that I have spent the last few years reading a series published by Banner of Truth titled, Puritan Paperbacks, which call into question my negative perceptions.  Obviously, words alone don't Make the Man, they do reveal SOMETHING about what's in the heart and mind.  These books are full...cover to cover...of the most extreme ENCOURAGEMENT for every possible circumstance.  Their emphasis is on the faithfulness of Christ to his sinful, stubborn, broken, weak, mortal followers.   I've never read anything more profoundly Scriptural or more thoroughly compassionate.  I no longer envision the lot of them as black-robed, dour-countenanced, severe judges who loaded their people with burdens too heavy to carry.  

I encourage you, whatever your opinion has been of the Puritans, to choose even one of these and find yourself built up - not in your ability to live up to their standard of holiness - but in the unmitigated devotion of Christ to his people, and in the beauty of grace.
The Lord Jesus Christ is our High Priest, by whose death we are set at liberty, and by whose life we are well preserved.  It is His office to succour poor tempted souls pursued by avengers of blood: and if a good man be faithful in his office, much more will Christ!   Whenever you are tempted and fear you shall miscarry under your temptation, then remember Christ and say, "Oh! but the Lord Jesus is in office.  He is bound to succour poor tempted souls.  HE is engaged by His own temptation; He is engaged by promise; He is engaged by His interest in me, and His name upon me; He is engaged by His own disposition; He is engaged by His office.  I am tempted, but I shall be delivered, for the Lord Jesus Christ is engaged for my deliverance!"

Are we under the guilt of sin?  There is a promise, "The Lord is merciful and gracious."  God is more willing to pardon than to punish.   Mercy does more multiply in Him than sin in us.

Are we under the defilement of sin?  There is a promise, "I will heal their backslidings."  God will not only bestow mercy, but grace.

Are we in great trouble?  There is a promise, "I will be with him in trouble."  God does not bring his people into troubles and leave them there.  He will stand by them; He will hold their heads and hearts when they are fainting.  He will be the strength of their hearts; He will join His forces with theirs.  Either He will make his hand lighter, or our faith stronger. 

Christ's sheep are weak sheep, and lacking in something or other; He therefore applies Himself to the necessities of every sheep.  He seeks that which was lost, and brings again that which was driven out of the way, and binds up that which was broken, and strengthens the weak.  His tenderest care is over the weakest.  He was most familiar and open to troubled souls.  

We, indeed, look at things by pieces, we look at one detail and do not consider the relation that one thing has to another, but God looks at all things at once, and sees the relation that one thing has to another. ...the workman sees the dependence of all, one upon another.  So it is in God's providence.  Now notice how this works to contentment: when a certain passage of providence befalls me, that is one wheel, and it may be that if this wheel were stopped, a thousand other things might come to be stopped by this.  In a clock, stop but one wheel and you stop every wheel because they  are dependent upon one another.  So when God has ordered a thing for the present to be thus and thus, how do you know how many things depend upon this thing?  God may have some work to do twenty years hence that depends on the passage of providence that falls out this day or this week. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

All Things for Good - The Worst Things Work for Good

The EVIL OF AFFLICTION works for good.

1.  It comes from God's hand - Joseph
2.  It reveals God's presence - Jacob
3.  It causes us to seek God - King Manasseh (2 Chron. 33)
4.  It confirms our faith - Job
5.  It makes way for grace - Paul

As the painter intermixes bright colours with dark shadows, so the wise God mixes mercy with judgment.

The EVIL OF TEMPTATION works for good.

1.  It sends us to prayer.
2.  It makes us battle-strong.
3.  It abates the swelling of pride.
4.  It shows us what is in our hearts.
5.  It makes us fit to comfort others in distress.
6.  It makes us objects of God's fatherly compassion.
7.  It makes us long for heavenly rest.
8.  It engages Christ's strength and comfort on our behalf.

The EVIL OF DESERTION works for good.

The Lord's love cannot be withdrawn from one who never had it.  And he promises: "I will not hide my face forever."

1.  It cures the soul of sloth.
2.  It cures the soul of inordinate affections.
3.  It makes us prize His countenance more.
4.  It embitters sin to us.
5.  It set us to weeping for the loss of God.
6.  It sets the soul to seeking God earnestly.
7.  It causes us to examine ourselves for the cause.
8.  It gives us a taste of Christ's desertion by the Father.
9.  It prepares us for future comforts.

The EVIL OF SIN works for good.

It is a matter of wonder that any honey should come out of this lion, but God overrules our sin.

1.  The sins of others produce in us: holy sorrow, prayer, grace, opposition to sin, watchfulness, self-examination, good works

2.  My own sins produce in me: holy sorrow, watchfulness, gratitude, humility, empathy

--All Things for Good, Thomas Watson