The Tenth Day of Christmas

The Tenth Day of Christmas

This morning, the song & hymn line-up at church* was chock full of songs I love. Because several of them aren’t commonly known, I thought I’d share three with you guys today.

The basic theme of all of the song we sang this morning is one I love and struggle with and am learning all over again: we are each of us too big a train wreck for us to fix, but God is in the business of turning train wrecks into trophies of grace. These are wonderful songs for people who have come to the end of themselves.

And of course, I’ve included commentary, because, hey, this is me we’re talking about.

Come to Jesus by Mindy Smith – I’ve been putting this on mixes for more than 10 years, because sometimes your soul needs a desperate lullaby to remind you to rest like a baby in the arms of Jesus.

Can’t Help Myself by Sandra McCracken – This song is from a few years ago – before the Psalms album came out (which, y’all, is so good you should go buy it right now) – but is a really cool precursor to that album, because it follows the pattern of so many Davidic psalms, where David voices his thoughts and feelings about life being hard and then responds to his own self by reminding himself of Who God is and what God says about him. My favorite part (besides the “I can’t help myself” stuff, which I think is really helpful to repeat over and over, especially if you happen to be a perfectionist like myself) is the last verse: “I trust the Lord, my soul and all that is in me; I trust the Light to show my darkest parts. I pray the Spirit will be strong and mighty – a fool would keep his secrets in his heart.” I mean, isn’t that so deadly to our inclination to hide what is sinful and broken in ourselves from God?

For All the Saints, Indelible Grace style – I absolutely love this song. We started singing it in RUF in college, and it’s one of those rich hymns that takes you all the way to glory. I really love the last verse, but there are LOTS of verses, so I don’t blame our Worship Arts dude for ending at verse 5 or 6 or whatever it is (well, I try not to), and he does it so well – with a huge drum buildup at the end of the previous verse that ushers in the breathtakingly beautiful scene the hymn-writer (William How) describes for us of Jesus coming back to earth and the saints rising, victorious in His righteousness, from the dead. It’s fantastic.

The hardest thing to believe – and the most important – when you’re just having a really hard time in the grittiness of life is that Jesus really does make all things new. I kind of want to spend this year living like a person who knows 1. she will be resurrected 2. to live forever 3. in her (glorified) body 4. enjoying and glorifying God forever 5. with the rest of God’s people and all His creation. I’m not into New Year’s Resolutions or choosing a word for the year or anything like that, but I think this is something I’m gonna see if I can focus on this year. It seems like the kind of thing I should know down to my bones, you know?


* So I just want you to marvel with me for a moment that somehow our brand new church plant, which today held it’s 20th ever service, wound up landing the url citychurch.org. I still can’t believe it. To quote the 1995 BBC Pride & Prejudice mini-series,”I am all astonishment.”

 

The Ninth Day of Christmas (on Cooking!)

The Ninth Day of Christmas (on Cooking!)

I am a terribly lucky girl. (Well, as lucky as a Presbyterian can be.) I’m sure in time I will blog about many of the reasons my husband is amazing and just the right man for me, but today I’m going to focus on one in particular: he likes to cook. And he’s really good at it.

Take for example, this. This is what my amazing husband made for our lunch today.

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Now, when I say he made this for our lunch, I mean he 1) made the pesto, 2) brined and pan-fried the chicken, 3) made the bread from scratch, 4) toasted the bread and put the sandwiches together.

Y’all. I took down and packed away all the Christmas decorations while he MADE BREAD FROM SCRATCH. I mean, I don’t even know. He’s unbelievable.

We enjoy cooking together, so, since we were spending Christmas Day alone with the dog, we agreed to cook something rather exotic. This turned out to be duck.

Neither of us had ever cooked a duck before, which was part of the adventure. And for all they say about how greasy duck is, ours wasn’t at all. It was delicious – simple and juicy and marvelous. We made it in one of my Christmas gifts – a cast iron skillet, which I’ll be reviewing sometime soon, as it very well should have been on our registry.

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My husband thought this would go well with green bean casserole and twice baked potatoes. So there were no complaints from me. We tag-teamed on the duck, and he made the rest of dinner on his own. (You see how outclassed I am on the whole cooking thing?)IMG_0888

Since I am in love with Trader Joe‘s wine, it’s no surprise that we drank this lovely, slightly fizzy white with our dinner.

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It was so good, y’all, and so fun to try something new. And since we had all day, there was no rush to our cooking. It was marvelous.

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I am so spoiled.

(P.S. Duck – at least of the Pekin variety, which is what we eat in the US – has a very thick layer of fat under its skin. And y’all, you stack that fat on your fork with a big chunk of meat underneath, and you put it in your mouth, and it’s like the heavens are opening. It’s SO GOOD.)

(P.P.S. I got more than a cup of duck fat, which apparently keeps a long time in the fridge, and more than 10 cups of duck stock out of the carcass.)

The Eighth Day of Christmas

The Eighth Day of Christmas

I hope you all had at least as much fun ringing in the New Year as we did last night when we completely forgot to pay attention to the time because we were so caught up in our current favorite board game, Pandemic. I’d never played a collaborative game before we got this (twas on sale at Target), and WE LOVE IT.

We didn’t register for Pandemic, but we did register for Carcassonne, and we’re so glad we did. We thought it would be nice to have a game that’s easy to play with just two, and based on reviews, we thought Carcassonne was a good bet, given how much we both like Settlers of Catan. (Playing Settlers with two requires all this extra work and it’s, for all you Scott Westerfield/Uglies fans, “crazy-making.”) Carcassonne has about 40 bajillion expansions, and it wasn’t long before we dropped cash on this beauty because we were so enamored. Date nights at home sometimes look like dinner and strategy games, I’m not gonna lie. The married life is pretty glamorous, y’all.

 

One thing I want to do on this blog is honest reviews of wedding registry items – what we use, how we’re learning to use it, etc. So consider this the first installment. Two-player board games are totally worthy of the registry.