The Recipe

Upon request (…um fyi, in case you click through to Bread Beckers, I love the recipe book…think the whole “emergency preparedness” thing a bit weird):

Chocolate Chip Cookies (From the Bread Beckers recipe book):

1 cup butter
1 Cup Sucanat
1 cup Honey Crystals
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups Soft White Wheat Flour (also known as Whole Wheat Pastry Flour)
1tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1-2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips as desired
1/2-1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Cream butter, sucanat & honey crystals making a grainy paste. Add eggs & vanilla & beat well. Mix dry ingredients & stir into creamed mix. Add chocolate chips & nuts. Make into 1″ balls & place on ungreased cookie sheet 2″ apart. Bake @ 350 for 10min. Says it makes 5 doz, it makes 4 doz for me, so I guess I do bigger than 1″ balls.

Happy Baking!

MMmm Weekend

I will miss the actual State of Virginia mostly for FALL. Fall is my favorite season & I’m fairly confident that Florida doesn’t have it. Brisk days that require a sweater, but still feel so good & invigorating that you have to spend the majority of the time outside….the colors the leaves changing, crunch of the leaves under your feet….the smell of your neighbor’s fireplace (or yours if you’re not lazy like me)…& pumpkin patches, butternut squash soup, roasted butternut squash seeds…ahh…. Virginia has a pretty spectacular & long Fall. Anyhow, this weekend was a little ‘fall pre-lude’ in Richmond. It was nice. I’m excited for fall.

The other ‘yummy’ thing about this weekend was that I had 2 very fun & successful cooking experiences. Why is this ‘blogworthy’? Well, first of all, it’s my blog & i care about it, so there. Second, I just wanted the world to know what a trooper my husband is. He has put up with my learning curve in the kitchen for about 7 years now with little complaint. I love new (weird) foods…him?….not so much. Maybe at a really nice restaurant on occasion…but not for his main course. So he has suffered through my attempts at cooking “fun” new things (a stuffed chicken in red wine sauce…w/Blackberry Arbor mist as the ‘red wine’…) & still allows me entrance to the kitchen. So saturday while he was out buying his jeep I got a pound of ground lamb out of the fridge & decided to get adventurous & make “lamb pastries” for dinner. I called him & told him he could invite people over if he wanted & told him what I was going to make. This is my other…thing…I get excited to try something new & think we should share it with others….those poor others…. I detected skepticism in his voice as he declined the “invite others” option. Then I started to worry b/c I pretty much just used the recipe as a loose guideline (which is the root of all my massive cooking failures). Anyhow they were quite good & Ryan even mentioned something about “next time…” Ahh…that’s when I know something worked. There can be a next time.

The other success was that I recently found a Ryan approved “healthy” chocolate chip cookie recipe. it’s made from whole wheat flour (I mill my own so I can use a certain wheat variety that comes out very close to white flour) & no ultra-refined sugar (so by healthy I mean, not super sugar loaded, whole grain & no hydrogenated oil). Sounds terrible right? Well, after 2 years of searching for a recipe &/or use-able ingredients (Ryan stopped ‘testing’ my cookies about a year ago), I finally found it. After he watched a few friends be my guinea pigs at a cookout here one evening, he finally made the plunge & tried a “healthy Jenn cookie”. The next night I caught him in the living room with 2 cookies & a glass of milk. Anyhow, I made some of those this afternoon. Not to….well…ok, yeah, to ‘toot my own horn’….I believe the words from the cookie critic were: “Perfect!” ahh….music to my ears.

Of course I just follow a recipe. So i’m not some amazing baker or anything. Not to mention 2 (or 7..) years of trial & error.

Men, Women & “Mitzvoh’s”

So a recent interest of mine (something I’ve always been curious about, but never actively searched an answer until recently reading an “answer” that really just made me wonder all the more): How do women fit into the Judaic Covenant symbol of Circumcision?

Now, just so you know, I have just barely begun to try to search out an answer to this question, so I know next to nothing. But I find it very interesting & in the 2 seconds of “spare time” a week I have, I try to figure out where to start looking. I mean…I want to know, but I’m not curious enough to stay up till midnight researching it.

The second “preface” i’d like to make: I realize the following quote has the potential to alienate unmarried women & those without children & even those unable to physically BEAR children. This is another side question I have, the whole, “what about women in those situations?” Because like the author of the following quote, I have found many a profound spiritual connection to God through child-bearing/rearing. But I do not believe childbearing to be (contrary to the way it seems some preach) the only way for a woman to fulfill her devotion to God. So, if it is a sensitive topic for you, I apologize…..

This is an excerpt from a blog post by a conservative Jewish woman (I believe a rabbi’s wife?). She is responding to the question (paraphrased): “Why do men (get to) have more religious traditions than women?”

Nonetheless, the home and family comprise the central institution of Judaism, and women ideally spend the majority of their lives devoted to them. Some people protest that women’s responsibility to the home is unfair and even demeaning, but I cannot understand their attitude. It seems that such people believe that the synagogue offers more opportunity to connect to G-d than raising a family does. I am sure that being wrapped in a pair of tefillin and a tallis while devoting one’s full attention to G-d is an inspiring experience, and I’ll never know what it feels like. But my husband will never know the intimacy of nursing a baby, and that is also a service to G-d.

Actually, the clearest insight I’ve ever had into the nature of G-d was while nursing a newborn. I looked down at that tiny baby clinging to me as if no separation existed between us, and I was overwhelmed with love. I then realized that G-d’s love for me is even deeper than my love for my baby. It was at that moment that I understood that a newborn’s relationship with its mother is a metaphor for humanity’s relationship with G-d.

An infant’s dependency on its mother is total. Because its mind is undeveloped, it has no concept of the person on whom it depends. Certainly it cannot fathom the depths of the love that person has for it. It just clings instinctively and takes what it needs, unaware of all the love, nurturance, and protection it is receiving.

Motherhood taught me that lesson, and I’m certain G-d created the physical attachment between a baby and its mother so that we could understand Him better. Men can be wonderfully loving parents, but their bodies can never carry an unborn or nourish a newborn. The depth of the connection is different. It is not an experience I would ever want to trade. Why would I want to do men’s mitzvohs when womanhood offers so much potential to connect to G-d?

I got a jeep

So, with the minivan on the market I found and purchased my jeep.

It is pretty surreal. I’ve wanted a jeep as long as I’ve had a license. So, driving it today was pretty cool. Added bonus is that Asher thinks it is the coolest thing on the planet. Unfortunately, little man can’t ride in it. I’d have to make some rather costly modifications to make the back seat safer… so, he’ll have to settle with sitting in it while it sits in the driveway… which he seems content with.

For those who are interested:

It is (well, parts of it are) a 1979 CJ-7 with a rebuilt 350 engine and a new 4 Barrel Edelbrock Carburetor. The exhaust rumbles really nice… loud without being obnoxious. The jeep was put together really well. Transmission shift like butter. Pretty happy with the purchase so far. I took the top off today and tooled around town. I must say, owning a jeep is a fun as I thought it’d be. The icing to this cake… once we sell the van… NO CAR PAYMENTS!!!

Without further a due… here’s the jeep (click image to enlarge):

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CRAZY wreck!

So, last night after dinner we decided to enjoy the nice weather by sitting on our stoop. We were just hanging out when we heard that awful sound… ssssscreech… POW!

I looked up to see a HUGE Ford F-250 go sideways on the main road next to our house. It headed straight for our ditch. When it hit the ditch embankment it (literally) went head over heals. It was the most surreal thing to watch.

I yelled for Jenn to get the kids in and call 911. I ran to the truck (followed closely by my neighbor) and it took both of us pulling with all our might to bend the passenger door back to get inside. I was able to see the passenger and I asked if everyone was alright. They all (4 of them) said yes. They managed to slowly crawl out and make it to the yard. Amazingly, the only visible injury was a small cut on 1 woman’s big toe. Of course, with a wreck like this, they all got carted to the hospital.

The car that caused the accident had some major front end damage, but the drive and passenger were fine. Apparently they tried to stop at the stop sign in front of our house, but couldn’t. So, the went into the street and T-boned the rear 1/3 of the F-250.

So very thankful that everyone lived through the wreck. I’m still replaying the truck flipping into my ditch. CRAZY!

Here are some pics (click to enlarge):

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2000 Honda Odyssey EX for sale

That’s right, you can now own a part of Burns family history. Our 2000 Honda Odyssey EX is up on the chopping block. I just spent way too long making a craigslist post and accompyining pictures page to give you any more details that that. You can check out the details HERE and view pictures HERE.

First one who is willing to pay full asking price, we’ll throw in a free year’s subscription to The Daily Burns.

(yes, I know it is already free… that’s what makes it funny.)

Stomping for Jesus

In lighter news, a short story for those who are interested in cute things my kids do. :o)

This morning I put on some (rather loud) praise & worship music (this is not normal in the Burns’ house in the a.m.). I got the kids up & when i went in to get Grace, she was sitting up in her crib & “dancing”. I swooped her up & said, “Oooh Grace, Jesus LOOOVES to watch you dance!” Asher was next to me & he said, “oh! I’ll be right back!” & ran to his room. While I changed Grace’s diaper he sat on the floor behind me & put on his “loud shoes” & said, “Jesus loves to hear me stomp!” & proceeded to stomp a bit (We often have afternoon ‘dance jam sessions’ on the hardwood floor & asher’s ‘dancing’ consists mostly of running, jumping & stomping in his ‘loud shoes’).

Indeed. I’m sure Jesus loves to watch us dance….and stomp.

Friends Are Good

Yesterday I was at the park with a couple of my friends (& their kids), where we quickly discovered that ‘outside’ playdates meant something different for the mom’s than “inside” playdates. I.E.: at the park: there is little to no real discussion amongst the mommies.

Yet, God is good & somehow we got to talking about Jesus & between saving asher from falling to his death on a ladder & keeping grace from eating every single woodchip in a 10-mile radius, I mentioned a recent ‘revelation’ God gave me during a discipline session w/Asher. A few weeks back I decided to draw the “circle of protection” diagram from the “shepherding a child’s heart” book. I won’t go into detail since this is going to be a long post as it is. But the gist that I got from reading it was, “You discipline to teach them to obey & obeying keeps them safe”. I wasn’t sure I bought into that whole thing, but i was at my wit’s end & so many had said it ‘revolutionized’ their parenting once they explained that diagram…so i brought out the doodle pad. Of course my little curious 2yr old immediatly asks: “What am I safe from momma?”. This went on for days where i hemmed & hawed & just wasn’t sure exactly. I mean, if he obeys me, bad things won’t happen to him? Really? I don’t know about that….then one afternoon after nearly maiming his little sister in a fit of rage (she tried to play with his trucks), he got a spanking & afterward was hugging on me. He pulled my face in close, looked deep into my eyes & said, “what am I safe from now momma?”. sheesh. So i feverishly prayed & tried to figure what i was protecting HIM from (felt like i was protecting grace really…) & a dove flew over my head & a beam of light shone upon us (ok, not really…). Sin. The issue wasn’t that he was mean to his sister. It was that he sinned. He disobeyed, & did not love his sister. He sinned. So, I explained (as best you can to a 2yr old) that he was learning to be safe from sin (w/a short discussion on what sin is…geez again…). For now, this was enough for him.

Anyhow, I’m sure it wasn’t that much detail yesterday, but Dana got the gist. Today she sent me the following email. I thought it was just so profound, that I had to share it w/ya’ll (I got permission first):

Jenn:
I had to thank you for what you told me the other day about what exactly our kids are safe from in the whole “circle of safety” idea. I’ve added it to our “conversation” after John is disciplined, and it’s really helped me feel like I’m teaching him something. And it goes along well with what we already talk about, which is that the Bible says you’ll be blessed and have a long life if you obey mommy and daddy. Gives a good opposite to what not being blessed looks like.

I was reading Phillipians 3:18 during my quiet time today – it says: “For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.” I’ve never thought much about this before, but it’s interesting that it says many are enemies of the cross of Christ, rather than just saying many are enemies of Christ. The way I see it is we’re enemies of the cross because the cross is what tells us we’re sinners in need of saving. Christ, as far as many non-Christians are concerned, was just a good man. But to admit that he dies on the cross for our sins is to admit that we’ve done wrong. That is the part that I’ve always had the hardest time with – the idea that I’m a sinner. I know I am, intellectually. But it took a while even after I was saved for me to understand in my heart what it meant that Christ is my Savior. I understood the Lordship thing just fine – I like to try to control things, so the fact that GOd wanted to have control of my life because He made me and had a better plan than I did made perfect sense to me. But I was always a “good kid,” so it took a while for the concept of me being a sinner to really sink in. And so I have a hard time grasping how to communicate this idea to John, because there’s still that part of me that hasn’t died yet (!) that thinks “oh, he’s not that bad – he just didn’t obey – do I really have to tell him he’s a sinner?”! Even writing makes me think – ahh, of course! But that battle still goes on. So, what you said yesterday made a lot of sense to me, and made an easy way for me to get into John’s head that every time he disobeys he is sinning. And one day, I believe, that will open the door for the questions to start (“Mommy, what is sin? Why do I need to be protected from it?” That type of thing). I kind of feel like part of disciplining at this age is just introducing a bunch of “open doors” where questions can be asked in the future! Then, reading that verse in Philipians today, it just hammered the point home — teaching John that Jesus loves him is wonderful, but that’s not the thing he’s really going to struggle with. The stumbling block is the cross – believing that we’re sinners and we need a savior. Because that offends our human side . . .

And today, for some reason, disciplining John has been easier than usual. I’ve felt like we’ve actually resolved something each time I disciplined him. I feel like I’m actually teaching him something Biblical, I guess, rather than just teaching him not to disobey.

That friends, Is what I consider Sacred Parenting. Thanks Dana.

Israel

So this morning while reading a chapter from “God’s Big Picture“, the author was talking about how Jesus fulfills OT prophesy. Of particular interest to me was how he explained that Jesus is the true Israel, Tabernacle & Temple. I won’t give all the details on the explanation, as that would be a chapter of the book. However, he hovered briefly on the idea that putting hope into the current nation of Israel is not what we should do.

From now on the true Israel is not focused on the land of Palestine and does not consist of those who are physically descended from Abraham. It rather consists of his spiritual descendants….Jew & Gentile, who…place their trust in God’s promise fulfilled in Jesus..

He also quoted another author w/the following analogy (Jenn’s Paraphrase):

A father a century ago promises his son a horse on his 21 birthday. Cars are subsequently invented, so when the 21 birthday rolls around, the father gives his son a car. (then he gave an explanation of how Israel was the horse/Jesus the car). “To look for direct fulfillments of, say, Ezekiel in the 21st cent. Middle East…..is like taking the delivery of the car but still expecting the horse.”

I found this incredibly helpful, as the “Isreal/Palestine Thing” (sorry to reduce it to a “thing”….I’m not very profound) confuses the heck out of me & I’ve never really felt any incredible passion for “saving Israel”…stopping war, yes. Fighting a Holy War…not so much. So I’ve battled guilt for thinking that it may not be the big super-spiritual thing a lot people say it is. Not that I am suddenly and expert, but I think what He talked about in this last chapter is what I thought…but didn’t have the eloquent words to express.