Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

"'Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee,' saith the LORD." ~Zechariah 2:10
~
"'Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord....Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men'" ~Luke 2:10-11, 14
~
"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." ~II Corinthians 5:21

Merry Christmas!

May the Lord richly bless you today as you delight in the One who gave Himself for us!

The Novelteatalkers

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Book Club ~ Hidden Art

Good Morning!

Well yesterday Lily and I had our (delayed) weekly chat together. Sometimes the conversations are about church; sometimes about exercising; sometimes about our failing bodies of death (people are always telling me we're too young to talk about that but it's true! We are living in bodies of death. From Mono to a back that is killing me, we're waiting for that blessed day when we shall "awake in His likeness."); sometimes we cover all kinds of topics in one conversation. But yesterday we mostly talked about reading: the book club (or lack thereof), our dullness in reading lately, all the books that keep piling onto our "I need to read..." list, and the (multitude of) books that we're in the middle of.

So, after being inspired yesterday by my dear friend to get back into my reading routines, here is the long-overdue book club post on The Hidden Art of Homemaking.

I have to confess, I did not want to read this book. Lily picked this book and I just did not want to read it at all. So, after extending myself to actually spend the precious $0.99 on the book (I know...so generous!) we book-clubbed at the coffee shop once this summer and after that, it's been sitting on my shelf....Until yesterday.

Lily, obviously, has already finished this book and I have been trying to figure out how to get out of it. What a book-clubber, huh? Lily and I decided that we didn't have to read the whole book (she didn't) but just the chapters that really interested us. Yesterday, I narrowed that down to a manageable two and "finished" The Hidden Art of Homemaking last night. I read the first two chapters (which are more introductory) and consoled Lily with the fact that I spent the $0.99 on the book and can go and read any of the chapters whenever I think I'm lacking in the Hidden Art of.... [gardening.]

The Noveltea Talking Book Club will resume on January 1st with our next book (which I picked and am very excited about!) Heaven Taken By Storm by Thomas Watson. Please feel free to join us. It's a Noveltea Talking New Year's Resolution to really book club this year. So we would love for you to join us as Thomas Watson pours our tea in 2010. Add your comments to our posts and send your thoughts and quotes at girleytalk {at} gmail {dot} com

Have a great Wednesday!

The Novelteatalkers

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Quote for the Beginning of the Week

I read this quote a couple days ago and...well...here you go. Instead of changing the Notable Quotable this week I'm just gonna post this Very Notable Quotable today and hope that it encourages you as it encouraged me.

“Neither let your own accusing conscience, nor Satan the accuser of the brethren, hinder you any longer from Christ. For what though they should accuse you of pride, infidelity, covetousness, lust, anger, envy, and hypocrisy? Yea, what though they should accuse you of whoredom, theft, drunkenness, and such like? Yea, do what they can, they can make no worse a man of you than a sinner, or chief of sinners, or an ungodly person; and so, consequently, such a one Christ came to justify and save; so that in every deed, if you do rightly consider it, they do you more good than hurt by their accusations.”

—Edward Fisher in The Marrow of Modern Divinity

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

For Weary Pilgrims

Oh, what a sweet perspective. One of my dearest friends shared this with me and every time we're down and we're losing sight of our Righteousness which is standing before the throne of Heaven, we read this quote to each other. The Lord is so gracious to provide such godly saints to His Church to encourage her on her way to Heaven. I do hope this proves a great blessing to you today, as it did to me.

"In short, you are not satisfied with any of your religious feelings and it is well that you are not so; for, if you were, you must have a very high idea of your self and a very low idea of what both law and gospel expect of you. You are, no doubt, right in not being satisfied with the state of your feelings, but what has this to do with the great duty of immediately believing on the Son of God? If the gospel is nothing to you till you have got your feelings all set right it is no gospel for the sinner at all. But this is its special fitness and glory, that it takes you up at the very point where you are at this moment, and brings you glad tidings in spite of your feelings being altogether wrong.
All these difficulties of yours have their root in the self-esteem of our natures, which makes us refuse to be counted altogether sinners, and which shrinks from going to God, save with some personal recommendation to make acceptance likely. Utter want of goodness is what we are slow to acknowledge. Give up these attempts to be satisfied with yourself in anything, great or small, faith, feeling, or action. The Holy Spirit's work in convincing you of sin is to make you dissatisfied with yourself, and will you pursue a course which can only grieve Him away? God can never be satisfied with you on account of any goodness about you; and why should you attempt to be satisfied with anything which will not satisfy Him?
....There is but one thing with which He is entirely satisfied- the person and work of His only-begotten Son It is with Him that He wants you to be satisfied, not with yourself...."This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Be pleased with Him in whom the Father is pleased, and all is well." ~Horatius Bonar

Friday, October 30, 2009

Daylight Savings Time Ends


Good Afternoon!

I have a way of always forgetting to do this far enough in advance that anyone benefits from the reminder. This is the best I can seem to manage: late on Friday afternoon! Well, you'll have nothing better to do on Saturday than to read our blog...I'm sure you'll get it in time.

So don't forget to FALL back on Saturday night. Oh yeah....an extra hour of sleep. So that means we can get up an hour earlier, right? Sweet!

Have a great weekend!

Sarah for the Novelteatalkers

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Hidden Art of Homemaking



Here in Atlanta, Georgia, it is finally autumn. I have been very busy in my first semester at Reinhardt College studying Piano Performance. I have made it half-way through this term and I think life may be settling down. Or perhaps, I am settling into a routine! This afternoon, I have been enjoying tea and Edith Shaeffer's company in the book The Hidden Art of Homemaking. If you do not have this book, I think it is a very important book for Christians, as it demonstrates the fact that all areas of our life are sacred. She defines art and the great Artist in the first two chapters, and then spends time looking at various art forms including music, painting, sculpturing, sketching, interior design, clothing, sewing, gardening, flower arranging, poetry and prose, drama, recreation and others. As Christians, the call to take dominion includes taking dominion of the arts. What area of life is not ours?

Let's put it this way. Christ is holy. We are indwelt by his Spirit. Therefore we are holy. What about our actions? Everything that we do "as unto the Lord" is holy. Those things that we do that are not "as unto the Lord", those things that are not of faith, are sinful.

I recently talked to a friend at school about sacred music and ran into this difficulty: is there a distinction between secular and sacred for the Christian? If our lives are holy because of the indwelling of the holy spirit, there is no area for the Christian that is not sacred. It is true that there is a distinction between faithfulness, and unfaithfulness. But there is no part of living that is not sacred for the Christian.

This being the case, what types of art are off-limits for Christians? The conclusion is that only artistry that is not as unto the Lord is off-limits. There is no such thing as secular clothing, music, paintings, etc for the Christian. There is no secular/sacred distinction. Can we dress according to the latest fashion styles? Of course! If what we do is of faith, as unto the Lord, then we have the freedom to be stylish artists as Christians.

One issue we might raise is this: aren't some things sinful for Christians? Are trendy clothes sinful? What about TV shows? What about literature (like Harry Potter?) Music...come on, there are songs out there that are completely immoral right? Well, is it the substance that is sinful or is the the actions? Is literature sinful? Is achohol sinful? No, they are just "subtances". These things are naturally neutral. Actions are not. We may use these substances in sinful ways...ways which are unholy - not unto the Lord. Is a tree holy or unholy - sinful or unsinful? Is a book? No, it is how we use them. There is only one right way for the Christian to use a substance and that way is "as unto the Lord". There is no literature, clothing, music, drama, etc that are sinful in style for Christian.

There are some other thoughts that I have regarding all this (including this age in which we live). But I will write about these later. For now, those are just things that are running around in my head, and things that I think Sarah and I should discuss at the tea table! Feel free to sweeten our correspondence with your own "two-cents".

Warmly,
Lily

Friday, October 16, 2009

October.Third Weekend.Presbytery.Daddy Gone.Casserole.

That's the update around here: Chicken and Broccoli Casserole for dinner tonight! Here's the whole story if you're new to Talk Time and have no idea what I'm talking about. Catch the story here, and here.

Have a great weekend!

In our Altogether Lovely One,

Sarah

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Surface of Life

The surface of life: the morning routine; the evening routine; science tests; math tests; choir appointments; piano appointments; nannying appointments; errands; waking the boys up with a nice, sweet smile in the morning; helping them when something in school "just doesn't make sense"; homework to be done; sermons to be burnt to cds, etc., etc., etc.

Greetings from the Tea Table! That is this past week's "surface of life." Ben Miller, in this sermon (did I mention that I've over and over recommended this sermon again and again?) gives a list of things that make up the surface of our lives. And this is the rest of the sermon in a nut shell:

"Many dark and disturbing thoughts are apt to arise in this thing. Few can carry up their hearts and minds to this height by faith, as to rest their souls in the love of the Father; they live below it, in the troublesome region of hopes and fears, storms and clouds. All here is serene and quiet. But how to attain to this pitch they know not. This is the will of God, that he may always be eyed as benign, kind, tender, loving, and unchangeable therein; and that peculiarly as the Father, as the great fountain and spring of all gracious communications and fruits of love. This is that which Christ came to reveal, — God as a Father..."

~ John Owen, from Communion with God the Father

"Attempting to comprehend the depths of this love, one may compare [Zephaniah 3:16-17] this Old Testament version of John 3:16 to a child on the seashore, digging a sandy trench to the limitless expanses of the ocean. The child stretches out her arms to gather the ocean's depths into her shallow pool."

~ O. Palmer Robertson

"Dig the trench, brethren."

The surface of life becomes life in the Kingdom when we are so suffused with the love of our Father in Heaven that everything we say, everything we touch, everything we feel is motivated by that great love. He's our Father! So this week's "surface" is all part of the path that we're walkin' on. We're walkin' with the King. Learnin' to love Him and to know how much He loves us. Strivin' to love our neighbor...extravagantly! Yearning for the day when our faith shall be made sight. We're children of a great King and that thought changes everything about us. We're not just so privileged to be slaves in His house; to pick up the trash on His grounds. We're sons! We're heirs to the Kingdom. We're ruling and reigning with Him in heaven. We're seated in heavenly places. We're robed in righteousness. We're set at His right hand. And He cannot fail. He will get us to heaven as surely as Christ rose and conquered death, He will get us to heaven!

"Oh for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise!"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Begone Unbelief

This is my new favorite song. I have those every once in a while. My newest favorite hymn that we sing at Redeemer is Jesus Your Blood and Righteousness (though, I still love so many hymns. Check out I Greet Thee Who My Sure Redeemer Art for example). My new favorite hymn that we don't sing at Redeemer is A Debtor to Mercy Alone. I think I'm gonna have to post those words on my mirror. What a great hymn! And this is my new favorite song that...well...I suppose it is a hymn, but it's not in our hymnal and I had never heard of it before this:

We have a friend that we know from our seminary days. She is a very gifted musician. Daddy and I love her voice and she also has some great guitar and piano music...not to mention lyrics. We love her music! While we were in seminary she made a cd, Remember Your Creator. We have listened to that cd so. many. times. It's awesome! After all these years and I still can't pick a favorite song. That's sayin' a lot for me. We have been "patiently" waiting for her to make a new cd (Mrs. Sealy, we have some suggestions if you're not sure what should be on it :) and in the meantime have been enjoying her on YouTube. This song is outstanding. You can see that (as of right now) there have been 266 views...probably 75 of those are me :)

Did you go and listen to it? Oh good. Now come on, tell me you have chills all over?

Most of what she has on YouTube are her variations on old hymns so after you melt over that song you can go listen to God Moves in a Mysterious Way and Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness. These are my other two favorites that she has on YouTube.

A Debtor to Mercy Alone

I have recently fallen in love with Augustus Toplady's hymn A Debtor to Mercy Alone. We never sing it at Redeemer because it doesn't have a great tune, but man, the words are awesome. I love the end: the saints in heaven are more happy than we here on this weary pilgrimage to the Land, but they are not more secure than we! Oh! Precious, precious promises to sin-sick pilgrims longing for the day.

A Debtor to Mercy Alone
by Augustus M. Toplady

A debtor to mercy alone, of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on, my person and off’ring to bring.
The terrors of law and of God with me can have nothing to do;
My Savior’s obedience and blood hide all my transgressions from view.

The work which His goodness began, the arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen, and never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now, nor all things below or above,
Can make Him His purpose forgo, or sever my soul from His love.

My name from the palms of His hands eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains, in marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure, as sure as the earnest is giv’n;
More happy, but not more secure, the glorified spirits in Heav’n.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fifth Sunday Recipes

Ah...Talk Time! It's been a long time since I've shared anything Talk Time Things on here. We just wanted you all to take every opportunity to laugh really, really hard at my "english" accent on our Pride and Prejudice video. So we left it as the top post for a while.

The other thing is that I'm still trying as hard as I can to get Lily to post our slide show. You can tell we've been best friends for a long time when even my persuasive powers have no effect. So, perhaps I'll just guilt her all the way through this post and she'll feel so bad that it's been a month since our vacation together and she still hasn't posted all our great pictures.

Ok, but actually this post is regarding my fifth Sunday recipes. And as you know by now, I don't believe in having "a few" people over. That was difficult this time because half the church was at the beach and half of what was left at Redeemer was not able to come to the Blair's for lunch. So I sort-a pieced it together on Sunday morning. And I still managed to get 17 of us to lunch on Sunday afternoon! Sweet deal!

So here are the recipes~

One of my most favorite recipes:

Cayenne Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa

coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Hass avocado, pitted and cut into chunks

(Of course I had to quintuple this recipe because this only serves 4)

In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne; rub all over chicken.


In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add chicken, and cook until browned on the outside and opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes per side.


Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine onion and lime juice; set aside. Just before serving, fold avocado chunks into onion mixture; season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken topped with salsa. Enjoy!

(Lily, everyone reading this post is really wishing that they were watching the slide show right now instead of reading my boring recipes)

Mashed Potatoes
(this recipe is from a lady in our church)

5 pounds potatoes
1 package cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/8 cup dried chives, chopped (or scallions are fine, too)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 350. Cook potatoes. Drain and add the cream cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, garlic, and chives. Mash. Spoon into greased 9x13' pan. Sprinkle paprika and small cubes of butter over the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Enjoy!

These potatoes are outstanding. I love mashed potatoes. Well, ok, I love potatoes, but I really love mashed potatoes and these are where it's at. And the awesome thing is that you can make them on Saturday and put them in the fridge and then when you get home from church on Sunday just put them in the oven for 30 minutes while you get everything else ready and you're set! Sweet!

(Man, I sure do wish there was a slide show to watch.)

Almost No-Knead Bread
from Cooks Illustrated (with some "fine-tuning" from Mama)
makes 1 large round loaf (I made 2)

3 cups (15 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus the additional for dusting work surface
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1.5 teaspoons table salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water (7 ounces), at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (3 ounces) mild-flavored lager
1 tablespoon white vinegar (if you accidentally use white wine vinegar that works too...I know)

Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula,fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours. (It really does need to sit for at least 12 hours...Mama found out the hard (meaning, "the bread doesn't taste very good") way.

Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray (we never spray the paper). Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times . Shape dough into ball by pulling edges unto middle. Transfer dough, seam side up, to well-floured cloth. Wrap up in cloth. Let rise at room temperature until doubled (about 2 hours).

About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place covered iron skillet on rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees. Carefully remove pan from oven. Flip bread into pan so it is seam side down. Replace lid. Place in oven. Reduce heat to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Carefully remove bread from post; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. (it's also really yummy served warm). Enjoy!

(Can you believe that we actually went to all the trouble of coordinating our outfits for pictures and Lily won't even post them? I tell ya...)

Salad

lettuce
red and orange bell peppers
carrots

Mix in a salad bowl. Wow! That's hard :)

With:

Ketchup Salad Dressing

1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup sugar

Mix well. Refrigerate. Enjoy!

And:

Buttermilk Salad Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2-3 drops hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
Worcestershire sauce or other seasoned sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons sugar

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Store in refrigerator. Snipped parsley or crumbled Roquefort or blue cheese may be added. (I added Parmesan).

(Seriously, we're losing readers because they were promised lots of pictures and they've got nothin'. They think we're a bunch of liars. They probably think we didn't even take pictures. I mean, how would they know?)

Fruit Salad

peaches
raspberries
kiwi
green grapes

Cut and mix in a bowl. And I have to say that the color combination of my fruit was really pretty. I highly recommend those fruits together :)

(I know you guys really want to see all four of us falling of the hammock. Of course you do. Who would want to miss that? Ya know, if Lily would post those pictures then you could see. But until then...Brownie Sundaes is all I've got for ya...)

And dessert:

Brownie Sundaes! I can't help it if ice cream is on sale every time I cook for a fifth Sunday :)

Brownies
from Perfect Recipes for Having People Over
makes 18 brownies

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon slat
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, cut or broken into small chunks
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut or broken into small chunks
2.5 sticks unsalted butter
2.5 cups sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs, lightly beaten

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a disposable or regular 13x9 inch baking pan with heavy-duty foil, leaving an overhang on two long sides to facilitate removal of brownies. Spray pan with vegetable cooking spray.

Mix flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl; set aside. (not too far aside, though...you might forget to mix them into the brownies...trust me, I know :)

Melt chocolates and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs and stir until mixture turns from grainy-looking to smooth and glossy.

Stir in dry ingredients until just incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with wet crumbs, about 40 minutes. Cool brownies in pan for 5 minutes, then use foil to transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

For Hot Fudge Sauce

1 bag of chocolate chips
cream until chocolate chips are mostly covered.

Put on medium-low heat and stir until melted.

Whipped Cream is pretty self-explanatory:

Pour heavy cream into a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until firm peaks form.

Ice cream made possible by the Harris Teeter Foundation, compliments of Breyers Dairy Products.

Until next time...

(it'll probably be the next fifth Sunday before Lily posts the slide show...)

To the King!

Sarah

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pride and Prejudice

This is just one of the silly things we enjoyed during our 2 week extravaganza! Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Question

--------------------UPDATE--------------------

I figured out what the problem was and now the blog template is appearing on my screen. I hope it is for everyone else, too!
----------

Is the blog template showing up on your computer? When I view Talk Time everything is there except the template with the little pink flowers on the side, etc. Has it disappeared for everyone else, too, or is it just me? Leave me a comment. Not that your answer will tell me what to do, but just so I know :)

Have a great day! Our King is faithful and He is worthy that we should walk with Him and sing His praises and "bless the Lord!"

"Oh for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise!"

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Novelteatalker's Vacation, Part One

Well, the novelteatalker's vacation is over. It ended on Saturday morning. I'm still missing Lily but there are hundreds of memories to hold dear for a long, long time. We had a sweet time. The Lord was very gracious to us.

We took tons of pictures. I think our sisters were ready to be done long before we stopped. We even coordinated our outfits one night, which made for some adorable pictures. But! We still have to put them in a slide-show. Lily is on vacation in Edisto this week so, unless she sends the pictures my way so I can make the slide-show, it will be another week until we get that posted on Talk Time.

We also had fun making a movie together which we are trying so hard to figure out how to get onto our blog. Can anyone help us? But, Lord willing, one of our computer-savvy friends will lend a helping hand in the next week or so.

I wish I could capture with words all the fun that we've had; all the tears that we cried; all the sermons that we feasted on...again; all the things we did; all the times we laughed; all the nights we stayed up way late; all the hours we rode in the car together; all the chick-flicks we watched; all the favorite lines we quoted; all the memories we reminisced about; all the traffic we sat in; all the music we listened to; all the coffee we drank (Starbucks Java Chip Frappuchino :); all the book clubbing we did; all the quotes we read; all the sewing we (attempted to) undertake; all the things we delighted in from day to day just because we were sharing them with each other.

Lily, I miss you so much and I can't wait to see all our pictures again and, Lord willing, our movie! I roll every time I think about it. You Talk Time readers can start praying that it makes it on to the blog.

More of the Novelteatalker's vacation coming soon...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our Annual Tradition

This would be a much better post if I still had our slide show from last year and all our pictures of us updating the blog and reading Calvin and sewing skirts, etc. But, I deleted the blog and we here in the Blog World all agreed to not mention that as part of Talk Time, remember? So, moving on out of 2008 and into 2009: Our Annual Tradition.

Since the Freemans moved to Georgia and the Blairs moved to North Carolina (6 years ago) we have made it an annual tradition to spend a week together each summer. We alternate homes so last year Lily and her sister, Sarah spent the week here and the year before Leah and her sister Sarah (very confusing, let me just tell ya) spent the week at the Freeman's house. Oh, and we have millions of memories of all those trips. It's been so much fun to laugh about all the things we've done together during our week in the summer and also to look forward to it each year like it's never happened before!

This year (in September) Lily and I have been best friends for 10 years.

Lily, I love you so much and am so thankful to our gracious Father in Heaven, that though we are separated by a few hundred miles and only see each other a couple times a year, that He has preserved our friendship and caused us to walk with Him in all our ways together. When I met you 10 years ago in the park at the Greenville Seminary picnic I never would have imagined all the things that we would do together; all the phone calls on Saturday mornings; all the "motherly" things we did together; all the sleep-overs we would have; all the e-mails we would send; all the things that you would tease me about that would (and still do) make me laugh; all the blog posts that I would do on your behalf; all the cards you would send to encourage me and brighten my day; all the epistles you would let me send to you; all the sermons we've listened to together. Lily, I love you so much! I wouldn't trade these 10 years for anything. You're dear to me.

So, this year, our parents were very sweet and gave us permission to celebrate the occasion by spending 2 weeks together, back-to-back. We're just a little bit excited.

Part of the tradition is that we meet in Greenville (the half-way point) and make the switch. So on Saturday morning Leah and I will meet the Freemans in Greenville and then go with them to Georgia.

Leah and Sarah are doing a Regency Sewing Camp this next week (Monday - Friday) so they will be gone all day sewing. (we are going to try our best to get lots and lots of pictures).

Lily and I are planning on book-clubbing together (Hidden Art of Homemaking is next for those of you who don't read the side panel); "talkin' about the issues"; making some skirts (lots of pictures, Lord willing); organizing all of Lily's sermons; and talking and talking and talking.

Since the girls are doing the Regency Sewing Camp and since we ALWAYS watch Jane Austen movies during our week together we're planning on watching a Jane Austen movie every night: Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice. We might have to throw in another one to make it 5 nights :) We'll try to get pictures of that, too.

Then on Saturday Lily and I will drive back to Charlotte (listening to Ligoneir Conference cds all the way back - I can't wait!). Lily, by the way, we're having one of my favorite dinners that night: Seired (how do you spell that anyway?) Tuna with Wasabi, Rice, Stir-Fried Broccoli, and Avocado Salad.

Lily and I will go to Redeemer on the Lord's Day (the highlight of the week). Leah and Sarah will have been learning all the dances from Pride and Prejudice during the sewing camp and then on Saturday night they'll go to the Regency Ball. On Monday we'll drive to Greenville and pick them up and then Lily and Sarah will spend the week with us until Saturday. Lord willing, tons of pictures to be posted in the next two weeks.

We have all kinds of fun plans for the blog while we're together but we may be talking too much to get around to posting anything. That's what novelteatalkers do anyway, right? However, we're gonna try really hard to get our second annual slide-show together (and I won't delete it this time...stop mentioning that. We already said we're not bringin' that to Talk Time, remember?). So, there are the Novelteatalkin' details on our (new version) of The Annual Tradition.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Two Pieces of Fabric

Well, ok, maybe not quite two pieces, but close... At least there's a general theme goin' on.

This past week I made an apron using this picture as my guideline/inspiration. I really just wanted to buy that apron but it was sold out and so I figured I could do it myself. Mama helped me a lot on this project. I used a skirt pattern for the bottom part. I did have to alter the pattern a bit but it was mostly a skirt pattern. And then for the top I just measured and guessed. For the ties and bottom trim I estimated how wide I thought they looked in the picture and measured and cut. It was fun to make. I still have to fix the length of the piece that goes around my neck but for now it's pinned so I'm not really worried. Come on, it's an apron. I'm gonna get spaghetti sauce all over it anyway so who cares if it's perfect? Here are a couple of pictures:



Then, I remade the headcovering that goes with the skirt that I made for my dear buddy, Lexi. (*side note* I cannot wait to give it to her on Thursday! I've been looking forward to it for weeks!) Anyway, I found a free pattern online (which I can't find now :) that was too small but it gave me some good ideas and I was able to work with the measurements a little bit. This one is much better than my first, spur-of-the-moment attempt. And I actually made two so I can wear one with my skirt, also. Cute!




And then, because I love this brown fabric from my apron so much, I used the same measurements and made another headcovering, but this time with the brown trim instead of the "interesting" striped trim. I love it. I wore it on Sunday and loved it. It stayed in my hair so much better than the other ones I wear.

One of my dear buddies at church said that she wanted one like it and also one just out of the brown material. That's a great idea. So I think I'm gonna have to make two of those, and one more of the denim with the brown trim. Ok, here are some pictures:



Enough of my boring sewing details.

I'll save the rest until after our trip (Novelteatalkin' deatils to come!) I have a skirt to sew this next week!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July Fifteenth

This from Spurgeon this morning~

July 15 2009
“The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.” ~Leviticus 6:13

Keep the altar of private prayer burning. This is the very life of all piety. The sanctuary and family altars borrow their fires here, therefore let this burn well. Secret devotion is the very essence, evidence, and barometer, of vital and experimental religion.

Burn here the fat of your sacrifices. Let your closet seasons be, if possible, regular, frequent, and undisturbed. Effectual prayer availeth much. Have you nothing to pray for? Let us suggest the Church, the ministry, your own soul, your children, your relations, your neighbours, your country, and the cause of God and truth throughout the world. Let us examine ourselves on this important matter. Do we engage with lukewarmness in private devotion? Is the fire of devotion burning dimly in our hearts? Do the chariot wheels drag heavily? If so, let us be alarmed at this sign of decay. Let us go with weeping, and ask for the Spirit of grace and of supplications. Let us set apart special seasons for extraordinary prayer. For if this fire should be smothered beneath the ashes of a worldly conformity, it will dim the fire on the family altar, and lessen our influence both in the Church and in the world.

The text will also apply to the altar of the heart. This is a golden altar indeed. God loves to see the hearts of his people glowing towards himself. Let us give to God our hearts, all blazing with love, and seek his grace, that the fire may never be quenched; for it will not burn if the Lord does not keep it burning. Many foes will attempt to extinguish it; but if the unseen hand behind the wall pour thereon the sacred oil, it will blaze higher and higher. Let us use texts of Scripture as fuel for our heart’s fire, they are live coals; let us attend sermons, but above all, let us be much alone with Jesus.

Friday, July 10, 2009

More Sewing Projects

I flatter myself that you would remember this skirt:



It was the main feature of our blog posts during our annual summer vacation together last year. Remember the slide show? If only I could link to it. It was on the older, uglier, way not as cool (not to mention, deleted) version of Talk Time. It was the main feature because, out of all four of us (Lily and her sister; me and my sister) it was the only sewing project that actually got finished that week!

It is most affectionately known as the, Interesting, Spazy, Different, Loud, Fun, Exotic (etc. You provide your own adjectives) Skirt.

Well, my dear little buddy, Lexi (I road to the conference with her...and her family :) loves my skirt. She's my spazin' buddy. She and I have so much fun together. I love her so much. She's 7 and I'm 17. I can't wait until one day, Lord willing, I have children and she treasures them when she's 17 the way I treasure her (and her sister and brothers) now.

Lexi Loo is turnin' eight at the end of July and so I made her this skirt:




See the double drawstring...denim and ribbon...that cooridnates with this ribbon at the bottom:



It's almost exactly like mine except that the ribbon for the drawstring on mine is a little lighter brown and the denim on mine isn't such a dark blue. But other than that...just like mine.

I also made a hair scrunchie out of the dot material from the skirt. Mine is actually the dots and the stripes but I'm thinkin' about remaking mine.



And I also made her a matching headcovering for church. I designed this all by myself just in the spur of the moment. Who needs a pattern? It needs a little help on the sides. Brite, do you have any great ideas? But, if you tuck them under the tie it looks so adorable. I think I definitely need to make myself one. How cute!




There you go: some more sewing projects with only a couple minor catastrophes.

Monday, June 22, 2009

One Hundred Talk Time Things

To all our dear Talk Time readers~

Our last post (the one where I told you how to win big bucks, pennies at a time ;) was our 100th post on Talk Time. Of course, that doesn't include the 60 something posts we had during our other Talk Time before I accidentally deleted it (but, we're not going there...). But, I think this Talk Time is better even though we are still mourning the loss of my gorgeous birthday post to Lily; the slide show of our week together last summer; and a couple other "favorite" posts.

Today, we are going to attempt to list one hundred talk time things that we've talked about around the tea table in the past one hundred posts. I'll do fifty and Miss Freeman will finish the list (this might be (really) hard!)

  1. sermons, sermons, sermons and more sermons
  2. notable quotables - lots of them!
  3. Ben Miller (I still think you need to listen to that sermon: Resting in God the Father)
  4. Sinclair Ferguson...if nothing else, listen to him because he's got a great accent
  5. the love of the Father (did you read my post on Owen?)
  6. John Calvin
  7. Institutes of the Christian Religion
  8. Calvin's Sermons on Ephesians
  9. The Very Unique Jewel of Christian Contentment
  10. cooking catastrophes
  11. the mercies of our ever-merciful Savior
  12. fifth Sundays
  13. Sermon Audio (have you checked our Pastor Blair on Sermon Audio, yet?)
  14. swagbucks
  15. beams and fountains (did you read my post on Owen?)
  16. future grace
  17. patience (or the lack thereof)
  18. Valley of Vision..."the valley is the place of vision."
  19. sewing projects/catastrophes/inspirations, etc. You name it, we've suffered it in the sewing room
  20. the Greenville Conference (you're still waiting for me to finish my extended series)
  21. Amazon.com (did you read my post on Owen?)
  22. birthdays
  23. the Chicken and Broccoli Casserole tradition
  24. poetry
  25. different cups of tea
  26. non-catastrophic recipes
  27. schedules (and sermons)
  28. car games
  29. guest posts on "flowers blooming in unlikely places."
  30. time change reminders
  31. the book cub (yes, we are still book clubbing and I was even lying in bed recently drafting my final post on Very Unique Jewel in my head)
  32. smoothies
  33. our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit
  34. resolutions
  35. the nursing home
  36. Jonathan Edwards (and his resolutions)
  37. book recommendations (did you read my post on Owen?)
  38. crafts - do you remember the Christmas ornaments? Those were so much fun to make (and post).
  39. battles and sanctification
  40. the laundry room - don't you know that's where sanctification happens?
  41. countdowns
  42. driving tests
  43. choir concerts
  44. the Lord's Day - a sweet gift from our Savior
  45. the Lord's Supper - visible words of invisible graces
  46. John Owen (did you read my post on Owen?)
  47. our spring giddiness
  48. fall madness - I'm tellin' ya, the traffic really does sound different in the fall...it does!
  49. the wave post - my favorite post that I did on the old blog that was actually saved and posted right when we started Talk Time again (August of 2008)
  50. chocolate (that's a good place for my list to end)
My turn! (It's Lily)
  1. Summer reunions
  2. motherliness
  3. water with no ice
  4. Stepping Heavenward (a very motherly book ; )
  5. afternoons
  6. scones and clotted creme
  7. Blair breakfasts
  8. John Piper
  9. the "promised land"
  10. So Much More
  11. Jane Austen movie quotes
  12. the "Mrs. Larson thing"
  13. embarrassing stories
  14. gardening
  15. "conversations on the mercies of the Lord"
  16. friendships
  17. school
  18. sewing
  19. skirts, skirts, skirts
  20. the modesty issue ; )
  21. "talkin' about the issues, but we're keepin' it funky"
  22. law and grace
  23. Sunday afternoons (especially fifth Sundays)
  24. the 4th commandment
  25. scrambled ice creme
  26. LEMON
  27. laundry - especially Bounce* dryer sheets
  28. the Christmas ornament tradition!!!!!!!!!!
  29. piano (lessons, performance, teaching, etc)
  30. "a day in the life of"
  31. heart and soul (and sisters by heart)
  32. sentence: "publicly hanged until you repent" lol
  33. Horace...one armed, one legged, life-insurance salesman. He's always very busy.
  34. "strong perfume" we need those husbands
  35. Calvin's 500th
  36. old friends
  37. Edisto Island and the 4th Family Reunion!
  38. Nick and Anita's blog
  39. Girltalk blog
  40. Facebook (Sarah should definitely get one)
  41. C.S. Lewis
  42. blah blah blah book club
  43. "pastors to help us in times of trial and temptation"
  44. little friends
  45. lumps of sugar
  46. All Things For Good
  47. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  48. the Valley of Vision
  49. Michael Card Ancient Faith
  50. 100 Talk Time Things!!!!!

We all love to win

I'm sure you all want to win free gift cards, right? Of course you do! I got this from Lily's friend Anita, on her blog. It's called Swagbucks and hopefully none of you have heard of it so you'll all sign up and then I'll win swagbucks when you win swagbucks.



By searching the internet using Swagbucks (go sign up at the website...it's completely free!) you win points (not every time...it's random) and then depending on how many swagbucks you have you get gift cards...say, to Amazon. So, you could then buy the book that I recommended in the post below, right? I'm sure that's what all of you were thinking. You start with 3 swagbucks just by signing up. Right now, I have 4.

I will say, it's not as good as Google so I search using Swagbucks (to get my points, of course) and then I search using Google if I didn't get what I was looking for the first time.

So, go win some swagbucks so you can enjoy that cup of tea with the fan blowing while you're reading Owen. Sweet! Oh, and please sign up by clicking on the link above. If I did it right that means I get points for recommending it to you...I'm really pathetic...we already knew that :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Book Recommendation

Ok, I know my recommendation will go unheeded. I know it will. In fact, this post will probably look a lot like most of my other posts: no comments. BUT! I would love to be able to imagine that I don't have any comments (again) on this post, because you've headed on over to Amazon and ordered this book and are now sitting at home, in a rocking chair, with the fan blowing overhead, sipping a glass of water (with no ice) or sweet tea, or even hot tea, enjoying every page of...

John Owen's Works, Volume Two: Of Communion With God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost

So here's the confession that will perhaps win you over to enjoy the rocking chair and sweet tea. I love to read theology. I don't know the last time I read something by somebody that was alive (except for blog posts :) and what Daddy's reading to us as a family). So, I have a great love for many of the Puritans and reformers. And yet, I still had my doubts about Owen. I've heard he's hard to read; one of the drier puritans. So, I hadn't tried any Owen. And then... I was listening to this sermon by Ben Miller (can you tell I have some favorites here?) and this sermon by Dr. Sinclair Ferguson (he's another favorite I just haven't linked him in a while). For one thing, these sermons had me in tears. And they both quoted the same passage in Owen. Actually, here's what Ben Miller said about this section of Owen:

"If you wanted the biggest kick-in-the-pants to your sanctification, I suggest you pick up Owen's works, Volume Two and read pages 17-40 without delay, every 6 months for the rest of your Christian life. It will serve you so well..."

So, my dear, dear friend Mrs. Girard, went online (after listening to both of these sermons and recommending them to me) and found Owen's works Volume Two on the web. Of course, we printed off the four chapters. We put our copies in black binders (very professional binding...Daddy would not approve :) and started diggin' in.

The first 2 chapters are good. They are. There are a lot of marks on my copies in those sections. Chapters 3 and 4 are incredible! They are so rockin'. I mean, there's nothin' but marks on those pages. Seriously, you start reading and you just can't stop...it's so good.
So Mrs. Girard got the complete Volume Two with the real binding and everything. This afternoon she let me read (and copy) some of the pages that come after chapters 1-4. Those pages triggered this post.

Here's a sample so you know that when you go to Amazon you're not wasting your money. The only problem: which section out of chapters 3 and 4 (in particular) am I gonna quote? I'm literally sitting here in agony: 1) because I'm sitting here with my "professional" copy of Owen on my lap being reminded of how good this is and how small my thoughts of God and His great love are and 2) because I so long for you Talk Time readers to feast on this and I know you're not going to so I just wish I could post it all right now.

"Though there be no light for us but in the beams, yet we may by beams see the sun, which is the fountain of it. Though all our refreshment actually lie in the streams, yet by them we are led up unto the fountain. Jesus Christ, in respect of the love of the Father, is but the beam, the stream; wherein though actually all our light, our refreshment lies, yet by him we are led to the fountain, the sun of eternal love itself."

I was going to tell you what page that was from but you'll just have to find it when you read Volume Two. Pathetic, huh?

Go enjoy some Owen. "It will serve you so well..."

p.s. did I mention the waves of conviction that will wash over you as you read? Oh I forgot that part? That's what I meant when I quoted Pastor Miller. Ya know, the whole "biggest kick-in-the-pants to your sanctification"? That equals conviction. "It will serve you so well..."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Another Quotable

Good Afternoon Talk Time readers. We have a sever thunderstorm warning for later this evening so I wanted to get my quote posted before we turn the computer off.

Richard Baxter is pouring our tea this afternoon~

No wise man can expect that...God should diet us with a continual feast. It would neither suit with our health, nor the condition of this pilgrimage. Live, therefore, on your peace of conscience as your ordinary diet; when this is wanting, know that God appointeth you a fast for you health; and when you have a feast of high joys, feed on it and be thankful! But when they are taken from you, gape not after them as the disciples did after Christ at His ascension; but return thankfully to your ordinary diet of peace.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Law and the Gospel

Just a quick quotable for Wednesday. I read this poem on the Law and Gospel this afternoon. It was actually on the front of a catalogue we got in the mail today...and oh, so timely. Sweet reminders...even in the junk mail :)

The Law and the Gospel
by Ralph Erskine

The law supposing I have all,
Does ever for perfection call;
The gospel suits my total want,
And all the law can seek does grant.

The law could promise life to me,
If my obedience perfect be;
But grace does promise life upon
My Lord's obedience alone.

The law says, Do, and life you'll win;
But grace says, Live, for all is done;
The former cannot ease my grief,
The latter yields me full relief.

The law will not abate a mite,
The gospel all the sum will quit;
There God in thret'nings is array'd,
But here in promises display'd.

The law excludes not boasting vain,
But rather feeds it to my bane;
But gospel grace allows no boasts,
Save in the King, the Lord of Hosts.

The law brings terror to molest,
The gospel gives the weary rest,
The one does flags of death display,
The other shows the living way.

The law's a house of bondage sore,
The gospel opens prison doors;
The first me hamer'd in its net,
The last at freedom kindly set.

An angry God the law reveal'd
The gospel shows him reconciled;
By that I know he was displeased,
By this I see his wrath appeased.

The Law still shows a fiery face,
The gospel shows a throne of grace;
There justice rides alone in state,
But here she takes the mercy-seat.

Lo! in the law Jehovah dwells,
But Jesus is conceal'd;
Whereas the gospel's nothing else
But Jesus Christ reveal'd.

May the Lord bless you today. Jesus Christ has been revealed. "The Gospel shows a throne of grace."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Sewing Inspiration

Ok, I'll just admit it, I do not like to sew. I just don't. There's nothin' in me that says, "Oh man, Sarah, you should definitely drag out the sewing machine and the sewing box and the ironing board and the fabric and the pattern and the measuring tape and the "how to use this sewing machine manual" (again) so that you can start to cut out a pattern, realize you're doing it wrong (probably cut the wrong size); recut the pattern (wasting half the fabric), sewing it together and then realizing that you didn't sew it "right sides together" so now it's half right; seam ripping the whole thing, starting over and by the time you finish the project you've used the whole day, it's time to go to bed and you can't even wear what you've made." It just doesn't happen.

But, this past Friday was our first Friday of the summer without Omnibus class and I got this urge to sew something. I don't think that's ever happened before! So, I debated about going to the fabric store. A couple months ago I saw this adorable denim fabric that would be so cute as a skirt. We already had the pattern for it (which I have made before in a longer form so I knew what I was doing....that's a good start). I decided to go to the fabric store and the Lord was gracious: denim was on sale! 30% off!! Such a treat. So, I got 2 yards of my adorable denim and then 3 yards of regular denim. People...I mean, dignified, tea-sipping, Talk Time reading, ladies...I love denim. I probably wear denim 6 out of 7 days in a week. There's a whole denim section in my closet: jumpers, overalls, skirts, jackets...I love denim. It goes with everything. You can wear it around the house; to church; to the grocery store; to a friend's house; in the summer; in the winter; with sweaters; with t-shirts; with black shoes; with brown shoes; with red shoes; with lime green shoes. Are ya gettin' it? I LOVE denim. So anyway...

The first skirt is black denim (a new version of denim in my wardrobe :) with varigated embroidery on it. I don't know how these pictures are gonna come through on your computer but here's the idea:


You might be able to click on the pictures to make them bigger. The skirt has 8 pieces that you put together so it has eight verticle seams all the way around. Ok....enough of my attempts to explain...just click on the picture :)



Terrible picture of me...please just look at the skirt :) I love the length because it covers my knees even when I sit but it's still cute and not super long.

The second skirt is...of course! DENIM! This one is long (almost touching the floor...my idea of perfect!) It has a ruffle at the bottom. I actually modified a pattern that we had (that's how inspired I was...weird, huh?) so when I made it, it was straight down (pretty loose) but it wasn't comfortable to walk in...I couldn't spread my feet enough to take normal steps. So last night (with the "keep-me-awake" help of 2 Dr. Pipa sermons...if you want to hear them cick here and here) I made triangles up the sides. I ripped out the side seams and made big trianlges of fabric on each side and sewed them all the way up to the waste. I added ruffle pieces at the bottom and now it's all flowy and fun to walk in....swishes when I walk. (sorry, I don't think I got the triangles in the picture).



The best part of the whole project(s) is that I got 8 sermons listened to...and they were all so good, too. But anyway...it was fun and I wanted to share my inspiration with you.

To the King!

Sarah

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Day in the Life of Lily

As Sarah mentioned, we were talking about having a balanced life earlier (we were actually IMing) and I was expressing how much I wish my life was balanced like Sarah's, and Sarah was expressing how unbalanced her life really is and how my life is better. Ha ha! So, we then decided to compare lives here on Talk Time and let YOU, the reader, be the judge! (Of course, I am sure we will have our own opinions.) As you might imagine, it's impossible to provide one sample, pretty consistent picture of a normal day - there just are none!!!! So follow along as best as you can. This is what a typical week looks like in the Freeman house.

7:30 try to get up (hit the snooze button several times)

around 8:00 turn the alarm clock off and finally get out of bed
somewhere in here, get dressed/shower.
have breakfast and tend to Tebow (our puppy) and Josie (our old doggie)
family worship (maybe if daddy isn't on a conference call)
get some laundry started, maybe.
water plants inside and outside.
neaten up the common room.
check email.
around 10:30 piano til lunch

(On Tuesday) math class at 11:30 til 1:00

12:00 break for lunch. (on Wednesday, leave for piano. Back at 3:00 minus any errands.)
more laundry
tend to doggies
answer emails, work on things for deadlines (any papers, assignments, church bulletin, etc)
walk Tebow
1:30 get some school done (On Mondays, house-work before teaching piano)

3:00 nap-can't stay awake (or housework)

4:00 get a snack work on more school (Mondays - teach piano until 6:00)

5:00 miscellaneous tasks (homework/chores)

6:30 dinner prep (Monday/Wednesday - leave for yoga)

8:15 back from yoga or tidy things up (or both)
get stuff done with daddy
email/facebook
around 10:30 or 11:00 go to bed and read a little maybe

These times are not entirely accurate. But they are a reference point for when I might do certain things in a day. That was basically an average day at home and does not include any errands to the grocery store or other things that just "come up".

Here is another day, which is also an average type of day during the week, though it is drastically different from the last example.

Morning is pretty much the same as the previous example.
11:30 Math class
1:00 Walk/play with Tebow, practice piano
2:00 piano lesson
3:00 stop by 2 friends' houses for errands; drop perishable items received, off at home. leave immediately
4:00 chiropractor appointment (stop at Starbucks on the way there)
5:00 back dinner with another family, email, watch TV
11:00 bed

As I said, these days do not include any extra errand running that we might have to do. Saturdays are work days in the house, including school work, and also usually we have some sort of engagement. Sunday, church work all day. Monday, Grace Classical Academy, teach piano, yoga. Tuesday, math class, chiropractor. Wednesday, piano, errands, yoga. Thursday, stay at home unless groceries are needed. Friday, stay at home, evening engagement usually. So that's my life. Mealtimes are up in the air with my dad's schedule unless he's away on a business trip. Bedtimes as well since we try to get in Daddy time when we can.

See, Sarah!? All that craziness and not a single "normally I listen to a sermon here" or "make a card for a friend here" or "make a craft while listening to a sermon here". I mean, it's just plain survival mode here. The next emergency/deadline.

As Sarah said though, "He gives grace sufficient". Future grace is the only thing keeping us going everyday. The Lord has given us many things, and "to whom much is given much is required" and thankfully, we don't have to figure out how to fulfill the requirements on our own. He is guiding and leading. I need contentment "in His place, at His pace."

A Day in the Life of Sarah

Lily and I were talkin' the other day (actually chatting online...a rare treat these days). I mentioned something about burning some cds and then going upstairs to finish my reading for school. That morphed into a conversation on our different schedules and so we decided to do a couple of "Day in the Life of..." posts. Lily wanted me to go first so I made her promise that after I did mine she will do hers...soon.

This "day" does not include the laundry (I do all the laundry at the Blair's) or things that just come up every week: invitations to dinner, making a card for a friend, visiting someone in the hospital, making a meal for someone in the church, the emergency trip to the grocery store, the last-minute hospitality, the granola I didn't know I was supposed to make until 30 minutes ago..... There are so many things that weren't part of the schedule. But the Lord's faithful and gracious and He leads us in paths of righteousness and teaches us to follow Him all the way to our Father's house. So we tread the path lightly knowing that the things of this world (even the unplanned things of this world) are all fading away and our "citizenship is in heaven." So if something comes up and that load of laundry doesn't get folded for four days in a row...it's not a big deal. These things are passing away.

So in all our days may He teach us to strive hard after the kingdom "and all these things will be added unto us." We're hear to glorify Him and He's teaching us that He has a far better plan than what's on our schedule. And He is always most glorified when we lose ourselves to find Him.

This is a sample week from this past school year. I can't really do one day because every single day is different. So, here's a week of sorts.

5:30 - up, read (lately it's been the Scriptures along with Calvin and Owen) and pray
6:00 - stretch
6:20 - jump rope (drink water because I'm dying after I jump rope for 10 minutes :)
6:30 - shower, get ready for the day
7:00 - listen to a sermon
7:30 - breakfast
8:00 - worship
(Monday: running with my buddy, Mrs. Posvar)
8:30 - free time = brush teeth, finish sermon if I didn't get through the whole thing earlier
9:00 - Omnibus reading (anything from Eusebius to Machen)
10:00 - (Monday: grocery shopping with Mama)
(Wednesday: latin and logic homework)
11:00 - grammar and piano practice
(Thursdays: leave for the Girard's until 5:30 or so) I help with school and then eat lunch with them. After lunch I teach piano to the girls and then have math with Mr. Girard.
11:30 - (Wednesdays and Fridays: science with Mama)
12:00 - lunch
12:30 - Daddy reads to us after lunch (most days unless he has an appointment)
1:00 - (Tuesdays: leave for work until 2:30) I tutor a little boy in our church for an hour a week in math and piano
(Wednesday: practice before my piano lesson)
2:00 - (Tuesdays: work)
(Wednesday: school)
(Thursdays: math at the Girard's)
(Fridays: Omnibus class)
2:30 - (Wednesdays: piano until 3:45)
3:00 - (Tuesdays: choir until 5:10)
3:30 - (Fridays: latin with Daddy)
5:30 - dinner
6:30 - dishes and kitchen clean-up
7:00 - extra - may be reading I need to get done or piano practice or a craft (in which case I listen to a sermon)
(Wednesdays (every other quarter): prayer meeting until 8:00 or so)
8:00 - ready for bed
8:30 - in bed (sometimes I read or listen to a sermon and sometimes (especially if I have math the next day) I just go to sleep)

I will say, 8:15-8:30 is my prefered bed time but I often do not get in bed until much later.

And of course the Lord's Day is totally different: I get up at 4:30 and go to bed around 11:00 or so (last night, it was midnight). But, Monday is our day off which makes a difference.

There's a week in the life of Sarah. The Lord's mercies and lovinkindnesses are new every morning and He's faithful to me every day of the week. Now it's Lily's turn.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Lord's Supper

Well, tomorrow is a Lord's Supper Sunday at Redeemer (first Sunday of the month). On those Sundays I always like to make my morning "Lord Supper themed." So tomorrow I am planning on listening to 2 sermons: one on self-examination and one where Pastor Miller ties the sermon into the Lord's Supper and actually records, as part of the sermon, the sacrament. It's awesome. And then I plan to read an article out of New Horizons on The Sacraments as Visible Words by Dr. John Fesko. And Lord willing, I'll read a a section on the sacraments out of Helps For Worship by Pastor Bill Shishko and a chapter out of Given For You: Reclaiming Calvin's Doctrine of the Lord's Supper. Planning my Lord's Supper morning reminded me of a section out of Calvin that I like to read every first Sunday. I thought I'd share it with you. Whether you feast at the Lord's table tomorrow or not, may this be a blessing to you and a means of "stiring you up to love and good deeds."

"By ["examine himself"], as I understand, [Paul] means that each individual should descend into himself, and consider, first, whether, with inward confidence of heart, [you] lean on the salvation btained by Christ, and with confession of the mouth, acknowledge it; and secondly, whether with zeal for purity and holness [you] aspire to imitate Christ; whether, after His example, [you] are prepared to give [yourself] to [your] brethren, and to hold [yourself] in common with those with whom [you] have Christ in common; whether as [you yourself] are regarded by Christ, [you] in [your] turn regard all [your] brethren as members of [your] body, or, like [your] members, desire to cherish, defend, and assist them, not that the duties of faith and charity can now be perfected in us, but because it behooves us to contend and seek, with all our heart, daily to increase our faith."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Day of Feasting Recipes

Ok, here are my recipes from Sunday (I'm getting through this fifth Sunday much more quickly than I did the last one. It helps that my post about the day was about 4 miles long!)

Meatballs in Fresh Tomato Sauce
from Cuisine At Home
serves 4-6 (I 2.5 timesed (not a word) this recipe....and there are a few leftovers even after 21 saints)

1.5 cups of yellow onion, diced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
3 cans whole plum tomatoes, crushed
1/2 cup reserved meatball pan drippings (see recipe below)
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt to taste

Saute onions in oil over med.-high heat in a large pan until translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic. Cook just until you smell it, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, pan drippings, parsley, sugar; pepper flakes, and slat. Simmer 15 minutes. I did also add some tomato paste until it was the thickness that I wanted. And, I did make this recipe 2 days in advance...good to know if you want a recipe you can make ahead.

Basic Meatballs
from Cuisine At Home
Makes 30-33 (I 1.5 timesed (still not a word) this recipe to make more like 50)

1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
pinch nutmeg (pinch = one of those official "cooks only" measurement terms)
2 pounds ground chuck
1 cup low-sodium beef broth

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Stir together all ingredients (except the ground meat) in a large mixing bowl. Add the ground chuck and mix together thoroughly. Using a portioning spoon or 2 spoons, shape the meat mixture into balls (about 2" in diameter or 1.5 oz. each). *this is also done the Miss Blair way: grab some of the meat mixture. Put it on the scale. Add or subtract until the scale reads 1.5 oz. and role into a ball with your hands. Place on baking sheet. You let me know which way you like best.* Coat a baking sheet or shallow roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray. Space the meatballs on the pan so they're not touching or crowded together. Cover bottom of pan with beef broth. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the meatball are just cooked through. Reserve pan juices for sauce. I made this recipe 3 days in advance and put the meatballs in the fridge. On Sunday morning before I left for church I put the meatballs and the sauce in the crock pot on low and let them heat all morning. Enjoy!

Almost No-Knead Bread
from Cooks Illustrated (with some "fine-tuning" from Mama)
makes 1 large round loaf (I made 2)

3 cups (15 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus the additional for dusting work surface
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1.5 teaspoons table salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water (7 ounces), at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (3 ounces) mild-flavored lager
1 tablespoon white vinegar (if you accidentally use white wine vinegar that works too...I know)

Whisk four, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula,fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours. (It really does need to sit for at least 12 hours...Mama found out the hard (meaning, "the bread doesn't taste very good") way.

Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray (we never spray the paper). Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times . Shape dough into ball by pulling edges unto middle. Transfer dough, seam side up, to well-floured cloth. Wrap up in cloth. Let rise at room temperature until doubled (about 2 hours).

About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place covered iron skillet on rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees. Carefully remove pan from oven. Flip bread into pan so it is seam side down. Replace lid. Place in oven. Reduce heat to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Carefully remove bread from post; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. (it's also really yummy served warm). Enjoy!

Hot Fudge Brownie Sundaes
(minus the hot fudge sundae part...I just served brownies and ice cream)
from Perfect Recipes for Having People Over
makes 18 brownies (unless you cut them small because you're having 21 people)

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon slat
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, cut or broken into small chunks
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut or broken into small chunks
2.5 sticks unsalted butter
2.5 cups sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs, lightly beaten

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a disposable or regular 13x9 inch baking pan with heavy-duty foil, leaving an overhang on two long sides to facilitate removal of brownies. Spray pan with vegetable cooking spray.

Mix flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl; set aside. (not too far aside, though...you might forget to mix them into the brownies...trust me, I know :)

Melt chocolates and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs and stir until mixture turns from grainy-looking to smooth and glossy.

Stir in dry ingredients until just incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with wet crumbs, about 40 minutes. Cool brownies in pan for 5 minutes, then use foil to transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sermons

Good Afternoon Talk Time readers,

Recently the Sermon Audio job at Redeemer has become my job. So, I upload our sermons each week to the web page and make sure they're labeled correctly and in the right order and part of the correct series, etc. It is so much fun...so my kind of job. So, now that our sermons are getting on there week by week and are labeled all properly, Daddy said that I should do a promotional post on Talk Time! (so generous, don't you think?)

So, if you would like to hear sermons from books that you may not have ever heard a sermon out of (such as Numbers and Hosea) or would like to hear a sermon from some very common books (such as Luke and Psalms...Psalm 23 was last Sunday night), or would just like to hear a sermon (and, though you may...just may...think my opinion a bit biased, there are some great sermons on there) then here you go. And if you would like to know some specifically that I recommend then you can comment or send me an e-mail at girleytalk@gmail.com or at missblair.pianoforte@gmail.com Enjoy! May the Lord feast your souls as He has so graciously feasted mine by the preaching at Redeemer.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Different Cup of Tea

Good afternoon,

Over at the girltalk blog (go read their post) they have posted the link to this video (or the audio). I watched half of it last night and was in tears, not only because it's heart-breaking (it is certainly that) but because the psalmist said, "Blessed is the man who takes refuge in You," and this godly lady is blessed indeed because she has taken refuge in a Savior that will carry her all the way to the Celestial City. Whether we have 24 hours or 24+ years to serve our Master, may He cause us to be faithful, as she has been faithful, and when our race is done, and our victory won, may we be welcomed into our Father's house and hear those blessed words, "Well done, My good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Master."

Resting on the Everlasting Arms,

Sarah for the Novelteatalkers

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Spring Fever!

Every year, spring is always and new and exiting as it was the previous year for me. So I decided to journal my thoughts of spring - of all the things that I am thankful that spring brings. If Georgians only get a week of spring weather it is the best week leading up to full blown summer. I did my best to capture our wonderful signs of the season. But without further ado, let's (with pinkie extended) sip some chocolate mint tea and pour out the thanksgiving in our hearts, praising God for His handiwork!

My list:
Blooming trees - especially dogwood and cherry
Spring green leaves and the multi-green woods
Bird chirping
Lilacs and azaleas
Breezy warmth (low 70s weather)
Early sunrise
Late sundown
Smell of newly turned soil
Cut grass
Spring cleaning
Clothes-line laundry
Seedlings
Rainbows
Neighborhood and nature awakening
Open windows and street noise
Herbal tea on the deck
Warm season clothes
Thunder storms
Soggy grounds
Sunday walks on neighborhood trails




Did I leave anything out? Please feel free to stir in another lump or two! As you can see, I find great pleasure in my environment. Spring season is just one of those times when I can't take a glance in any direction without my heart being filled with thankfulness. God didn't have to create anything beautiful. Just think how much pleasure He gets when we enjoy the things He created and enjoys!

Cheers!
Lily