Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ted Kooser, awkward poet

I do like Kooser. Simple words, sharp images, hard situations, crazy humor. This poem reminds me of the end of Ecclesiates. So vivid, too. From Flying at Night.

Uncle Adler

He had come to the age
when his health had put cardboard
in all of its windows.
The oil in his eyes was so old
it would barely light,
and his chest was a chimney
full of bees. Of it all,
he had nothing to say;
his Adam's apple hung like a ham
in a stairwell. Lawyers
encircled the farm like a fence,
and his daughters fought over
the china. Then one day
while everyone he'd ever loved
was digging in his yard,
he suddenly sucked in his breath so hard
the whole estate fell in on him.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

To always remember

When grace rescues you, then giving thanks is the responding action.
When grace delivers you, then action defines you.
When grace takes you in right where you are, then you act out your gratitude wherever you are.

I found these words on Ann Voskamp's blog today. Sometimes I forget things like this. In the same way I forgot that I was reading Isaiah because I hadn't actually picked up my Bible in several days and opened it to where the dark red bookmark hung, I forget His grace. When I look at it, I am overwhelmed by God's goodness, but sometimes I forget. I forget where and how His grace found and still finds me, and I forget what I need to give Him back. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Healthy and Happy Potato Soup

Monday was a day for soup. Ergo, I went shopping for very specific items and made a pot of it. I had in mind my mom's utterly comfortable potato soup, but wanted it a little more refined and healthy, a little more bacony, and wanted to skip one ingredient hers has that I think just might not belong. It was a good experiment, and I'm writing it down for the sake of posterity, or maybe just so I remember how to do it again. My method is pretty relaxed and unmeasured, so I apologize if you aren't the kind of person who eyeballs it, or adds ingredients by pinch and slosh.

First, I peeled 5 pounds of red potatoes. The pot fed 12ish people, so it's a decent amount. Chop them up and simmer them until almost soft, and drain them (the fork goes into them but they don't fall apart; they will cook more after everything else is added). While they are cooking, cut up 2 pounds of bacon and fry it. A large onion (hot), 2 or 3 crowns of broccoli and 5 or 6 cloves of garlic should be prepared. The sliced onion, diced broccoli, and minced garlic are sauteed in about 1/2 of the bacon grease (put the garlic in only for the last minute or so or it will overcook and not taste as good).
Add the bacon and the veggies to the potatoes. Don't put the rest of the bacon grease in unless you like a thick skim of fat floating on top of the pot of soup. Also add a couple cups of chicken broth and enough milk to cover everything and a bit extra so it's a half-inch or so above the potatoes etc.

Salt and pepper generously and to taste - I think I used about 1.5 teaspoons of fresh ground pepper and at least a Tablespoon of salt. Cook on low (not quite simmering; it's easy to burn this milk-based soup) for an hour or so. Best with bread of some kind, not crackers. And homemade bread, fresh and warm, if possible.

Monday, November 12, 2012

This day...

Life is not a stroll through a perfectly-manicured flower garden. The sun doesn't always shine, and sometimes you have  nightmares rather than daydreams. Sometimes snow means sledding and pom-pom hats and happily rosy cheeks, but sometimes it also means not being able to get to work and having painfully cold toes. Life includes stumbling and falling and getting dirty and thinking you're lost, and getting really lost and blubbering like a baby about it; it includes realizing you're inadequate and that horrible knotted feeling in your middle when you have to apologize to someone you care about, and the even worse knot when you have to ask them to apologize.

Life is not always fun and adventurous, or sweet and peaceful. But it is always just what God has appointed for you. Let His gifts fall thickly about you, and let your hands not clench when your heart feels cold, nor your feet stand still when your knees feel like folding. He is your all; let all of His love push you down the way He set for you.

Thankful and prayerful today:

-for 4 cups of coffee from the french press for 4 cold roommates
-for our good dog Patch, and that he would be found and returned to us soon
-for flicks to comfort the sappy chick soul (saw The Vow last night)
-for beautiful songs (!/artist/Amy+Adams+and+Lee+Pace/748111)
-for Mel's family far away, and seeing them with her via Skype
-for tire chains and a chivalrous eldery man who helped me get my car from the ditch, and that I'd stay out of it from here on
-for the way a wet cold morning makes you love dry clothes
-for the bright and cheer of christmas lights around our front window
-for being unsatisfied (and hence depressed) about how I've been doing with life: may it make me change and grow and do better
-for His grace and His faithfulness