- Some people had an idea of where to build the temple. It seemed like a good spot to them, but they weren't sure if it was "the right spot."
- God revealed to them that, sure enough, it WAS "the right spot." The very spot He had intended, in fact.
- (That means they were probably getting revelation and feeling spiritual direction on the matter before they even knew it. That's why the spot felt "good" to them in the first place, why they "contemplated" it at all. But they weren't sure at first if it was merely their own feelings or if it was God's will.)
- In spite of that coincidence of God's will and their own will (both wanted to build in the same spot!), God gave them conditions for success: "IF ye labor with all your might," THEN He would "consecrate" the spot and "make it holy"---that is, He would make that spot as good and right as they envisioned it would be.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
I thinned my lettuce garden yesterday, leaving me with what are apparantly called the "thinnings" (as a novice gardener, I learn a lot from the internet) but what look like the cutest, tinest, greenest little baby salad you've ever seen. (The picture doesn't show how tiny and cute they were. Some of you real photographers could do them justice.) They were SO tender and good---spinach and arugula and other spring greens, and I tossed in some oregano and some lemon thyme from the herb garden too.
And also with these:
And smoothies: (strawberries and raspberries have been on sale, so we're having these nightly now: no recipe, just plain yogurt and frozen fruit and honey, blended up. Yum)
And these, which are just rolls made from the artisan bread we love so much (okay, there is a recipe for that, from Beth, here it is):
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
There are certain questions I have that keep me vacillating between their answers at various times of life. I move back and forth between feeling that the answer is really more to focus on this---and then later I decide that it would be better to focus on that---and so forth. I always feel like it's a bit weak to always answer everything with, "Well . . . you just need to have a balance"---but I suppose that really IS the answer, often. Or at least, you decide which side of the balance YOU want to be on, but you can't really decide it for anyone else.
The thing I've been questioning this time is how to be a nice person. Like, instinctively nice---kind, charitable---(not "nice" in that belitting way people use to mean you're boring or weak)---so that your first reaction is to think of someone else's feelings and not your own pride. I think at various times in my life I have assumed I was like that---but that's mostly because I was thinking about the times when I wasn't really upset or provoked. It's like that C.S. Lewis quote about rats in the cellar and how what we do when we are provoked or taken by surprise or not "at our best," is a pretty accurate measure of who we really are.
So when I'm "surprised" by some situation---someone is rude to me, or a store clerk is unhelpful, or a "customer service" person is unsympathetic or inflexible---then I have a hard time wanting to be nice. I want to be rude back (sure, usually I am too scared to actually say what I want to say, so I resort to glaring or muttering some passive-aggressive comment or whatever---but the point is I WANT to be rude and I AM, in my heart!) and give that "bad person" "what they deserve"---which I am, obviously, not qualified to decide, but I think I am.
Now, I've also been thinking about K's sort-of-related post here (and even more, the comments) and there are a lot of good points there about how sometimes we really need to stand up for ourselves and our families, and we need to learn when to say no to things even if we feel like it's "rude", and we need to speak our minds and give our own feelings weight and not just let ourselves be trampled over. All this is good and I applaud it, endorse it, agree with it, etc. etc. Don't get the wrong idea here: I don't want to be someone that can't speak up for what I think is right, and I don't want women to feel that their opinions are not worth giving, and so on.
But . . . but . . . the problem is, I am so quick to think I am right. So there are many, many situations where I go out of it with this righteous indignation, thinking I'm so justified in being angry, and later when I am more rational, I realize my own motives and emotions were not really as pure and unsullied as I would like to believe they were. Sure, that lady could have said "I'm sorry, but our policy is no returns" in a kinder and more sincere voice. Or okay, maybe she could have made an exception for me. She didn't have to look at me like I was an illiterate cretin who couldn't read my receipt, right? But do I really have to spend the next 45 minutes dwelling on how unfair it was and feeling hot and mad and wishing I had made some snide comment (which I keep trying frantically to come up with)? And how much can I really assume about what she was thinking about me, anyway? How do I know; I can't read minds, or even facial expressions with perfect accuracy. And what does my (over)reaction say about MY level of kindness and tolerance?
If it weren't important to stand up for yourself/your family, I guess it would be easier. Then I really could just say "I'll be compliant at all costs, I'll never protest something even if it's unfair." But the fact that there ARE situations that warrant making a fuss is what makes it hard, I suppose. It's so easy to start to think that every situation warrants making a fuss . . . that I am always in the right just because I "deserve better" . . . that I and I alone have purity of motive ("The best for my family!") and that no one who threatens my conception of how things should be has any justification at all.
I guess I'm just wishing it was less instinctive for me to fall into the above thought patterns, and more instinctive for me to react by thinking, "Well, she probably meant well," or, "That's okay, it's not a big deal," or, "I'm the one who is over-reacting" or "I should try to handle that more graciously next time." It's like once I've opened the floodgates of being resentful about some perceived injustice, I forget all the things I'm trying to practice about being charitable and being kind and giving others the benefit of the doubt. I just dwell on how "it's just not fair"/"it's just not right"/"I'm a nice person and I don't deserve this."
Which is exactly my (sad but true) point: I'm NOT really a nice person. Not by instinct; not when push comes to shove (if that means what I think it means) :). So I can't just assume that if I "feel" like I'm right, I AM right, and I'm justified in saying whatever I need to get my point across. I can't assume that my own feelings should always take precedence (because sometimes I really AM better off saying "yes" to something I'd rather not say yes to). I can't rely on my own (nonexistent) moral superiority to show me who is right in any given situation: I need to rely on God's spirit instead---if I can figure out what it's saying. And I can only do that, when I'm being humble and kind, the best I can.
And maybe that's the only way I'm ever going to figure out when to be bold and "stand up for myself" and when to just let it go, when to subside and maybe even let myself be trampled on, just a little. Because I don't "deserve" good treatment at the expense of someone else's welfare. And when it comes right down to it, I'd rather be kind and generous and forgiving than "in the right." (Now if I could just remember that for more than 10 minutes at a time! . . .)
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I was pleasantly surprised, though, to see how ready the older brothers are to help the younger ones with things that are hard for them. In fact Seb quite willingly showed Malachi several places I would rather Ky NOT have tried to climb ("Come up here, Mal-chi! Climb up that ladder!"). It makes for a bit more nerve-wracking playground time (I cannot take my eyes off of Ky for a second), but it's so cute to see the three of them following each other around and trying to do all the same things!
Abe giving detailed instructions on where to climb next: "Okay, Sebby, move your other foot on top of that rope. Now grab this one with your arm." etc.
Monday, May 11, 2009
My favorite part, though, was the lemon curd I made for the top layer of the tart. Have you made lemon curd before? I hadn't. But right now, it tastes SO good to me---refreshing and summery. It's pretty sour, but in a good way. I like to eat it just plain! I made a big batch and so far we've eaten it in crepes with strawberries (which Sam made for Mother's Day breakfast yesterday---yum!), on top of ice cream (wonderful), and in the goat cheese tart. I also want to try it on angel-food cake or between layers of lemon cake, maybe in a trifle, and on scones. And I've had this lemon curd marbled cheesecake in my "to try" recipe file for a long time, but I never seem to have three packages of cream cheese on hand. It sounds good though!
I used this recipe rather than the one called for in the tart recipe---because it uses whole eggs rather than just yolks, and I prefer not to have the leftover whites to deal with unless I have to:
(UPDATE: I've changed the amounts to reflect the doubled recipe, as that is the one we always use.)
4 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest, optional
1 cup sugar
6 large eggs
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into bits
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
After our run, we climbed all over the rocks trying to find interesting things in the cracks of the rocks and in the tide pools. There were lots of cool anemones and crabs (we love hermit crabs---so cute and crawly!) and a few starfish (which Sam nobly threw back into the water---making a difference to that starfish, you know).
Monday, May 4, 2009
We didn't really have anything planned---we just drove, talked, listened to music, and stopped whenever we felt the urge. The redwoods were amazing (Sam was in HEAVEN---you know how he is with natural/geological phenomena. And so artistically inspired! He couldn't wait to draw it all. Here is one of his drawings) and we hiked for hours enjoying the trees and the quiet and the greenness. (I am always struck by how green everything is when you get out of the desert. I love it.) Northern California is beautiful!
Big, big trees. Unbelieveable, really. Sam and I kept talking about how our minds couldn't even really process just how BIG they were.