Thursday, May 31, 2012

Comments and responses

The response to this blog has been wonderful.  People have emailed me to share their thoughts, such as this one:
Okay, I really enjoyed your blog, tried to post a comment, but the novice, rookie, non-blogger that I am didn't know what domain to select and can't get it accepted.  So here it is:
God's will vs. self's will.  Wouldn't it be nice if God used "neon signs". However, as we deepen our relationship with God, we begin to realize that those signs come in subtle, yet profound ways, that could only be divine messages.  Once in God's will, there will still be struggles, but having the power to rely on God and the Holy Spirit's presence can continue to reassure us that God's will rather than self will will give us comfort and further direction for our lives.    
E-mail or give me a call and let's go on a road trip to Sun City sometime soon.

And this one:
I'll be following your blog with interest.  I got a chuckle about the one titled "Don't fence me in" with Gene  Autry.  Our community choir men sang a version of that song with cowboy hats, colored kerchiefs, and tuxes. 
And this one:
Well......not sure how a "blog" works....but the site is nice and easy to follow....and the scenery is a contrast to the mountains of the great Northwest for sure.......

 You will be thrilled to know that Autry is a fine native Texan and descendant of one of the famous Texans who died at the Alamo (bordering on "sacred" to all Texans), so there is more than entertainment, rodeo, raising stock for rodeos, and owning a broadcast station and a baseball team, and being a decent human being all his life,  in his little tree of influence and activity....
 "Don't fence me in" (to the modern mind) is a bit "contrarian" to your premise of obedience but is a nice play on the idea theologically, that there is no freedom without commitment to the source of it....

You see the problem.  I am learning how to blog, and lots of other people who would like to join the discussion don't know how to do it yet, either.  If you know how to comment on a blog, could you please comment and tell us how to do it?  PW

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ah, Kingman!

Out in the "heat and drought tolerant" all Kansas wildflower garden next to the alley, I was battling weeds.  In Kingman you are never alone, and no one needs a GPS device.  You are tracked at all times by the location of your car.  And whenever anyone sees you, they wave, even if they are not sure who you are, because if you  don't know them, you ought to, and they might know you.  So three people I wasn't sure who they were drove down the alley and waved.  (Yes, we drive in the alleys here.)  Then Vonda pulled into my driveway to complain that I have been too busy to talk to her.  She said she waves when I drive by, but I am always so intent on where I'm going that I fail to notice her.  "What do I have to do?  I'm already hanging out of my car window!"  We caught up on what's happening in our lives, and she drove on to do her errands.  Then Joy from the library stopped in the middle of the alley.  She noticed that I had checked in the last two books, and wondered if I wanted her to order another two or three on interlibrary loan from the series I'm reading.  She said she thought so, and will get me three more.  It's good, now that school is out and my work at Kansas School for Ministry is tapering off.  I can pay attention to my neighbors.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Parable of the Potato Bread

Well, my dears, today I tried a new recipe for potato bread, thinking that it might be good enough for the bakery.  This one starts out the old-fashioned way, by peeling and boiling some potatoes--no commercially prepared potato flakes for Pioneer Woman!  Our grandmothers not only used mashed potatoes in the bread, but also used the water the potatoes were boiled in for the liquid.  Nothing was wasted.  The potato starch in the water makes the crust more crunchy and the bread more chewy, and imparts a sweet taste to the bread.  The flour is Hudson Cream bread flour, locally milled from locally-grown wheat.  The honey is from an apiary near Norwich.  (Note to self:  I need to find a local source for butter, cream, and milk.)  It is a good recipe, but I made some mistakes along the way.  I mashed the potatoes with a potato masher, but when I mixed them into the other ingredients, they stayed in little lumps.  Now obviously our grandmothers did not use food processors, or even electric mixers--hmm...they must have used a ricer!  I'm going to  use a mixer next time.  This time I hoped that the potato lumps would absorb into the loaves as they cooked.  As I always do, I made three slashes in the loaves as I placed them in the pan, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.  Thus blessed, the loaves, I pray, will be good for whoever eats them.  But when I heated the oven a little for the last rising, I let it get too hot and sent the poor yeast into shock.  Fortunately, I didn't kill them, so the bread rose, but not correctly.  It rose too quickly at first, then fell a little, then rallied and finished rising.  This can adversely affect the texture, and inhibit the full development of the flavor.      

We are told by our Lord to feed the hungry.  "If you love me, feed my sheep."   Jesus means not only with tangible food, but also with whatever his people need in response to their spiritual hunger.  What we feed them in His name must be wholesome and nourishing.  We must be honest, so that what we give them is truly what we say it is, not some artificial or superficial substitute.  If we say we care, we must really care.  If we can barely dredge up a civil response to someone, we must acknowledge to ourselves and to God that we are acting out of duty and pray that the Holy Spirit will intervene.  We will be imperfect in our ministration -- the potatoes will be lumpy and we will fail to maintain full attention.  It's a given.  However, I can assure you that the lumps were absorbed into the loaves, and the texture and flavor were perhaps not what they could have been, but were, nevertheless, awfully good.  Bread is alive, and works differently each time.  That's what makes feeding Christ's sheep such an interesting experience:  each sheep is different, and each time we interact with a spiritually hungry person, we ourselves are different.  Nevertheless, the feeding itself is a good thing, because we are acting out of love for our Lord, and according to God's plan for us and his other sheep.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Pioneer Woman Bakery

Pioneer Woman bakery is to resume this summer, beginning on Saturday June 9.  More News to come!  See ad next week in Kingman Leader Courier.  Once again all those good things will be available:  homemade bread, pies, scones, muffins, cookies, cakes, croissants, danish, and the sticky, gooey cinnamon rolls you love.

Have breakfast on the porch.  Have lunch, or take some home, so you won't have to cook after you finish your Saturday morning errands.  Talk to me about whether you would be interested in homemade ice cream and gelati.

Ember Days Pentecost 2012

Ember Days happen four times a year, once for each season.  Postulants have to write to their bishops about what they have been up to for the last quarter, and explain how their spiritual progress is coming along.  It's a time for thinking about God's will for you, what you have been doing along those lines, and what you need to do to bring yourself into better alignment.

This season, I suppose I would have to take into consideration the working of the Holy Spirit.  First of all, it's a good thing we have the Holy Spirit.  God was certainly wise in providing us some help with our prayer, and with what Ezekiel said about transforming our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.

I think you learn to follow the Holy Spirit's guidance by doing what Richard Foster said in his book Prayer, namely, as soon as you sense God telling you to do something, obey immediately.  By trying to obey right away, you learn to hear the Holy Spirit more clearly.  Over time you become more accurate in your responses.

It helps to talk things over with others in the community of the faithful.  People don't talk much about God in normal life, though I don't know why not.  Anyway, I have learned that I must keep myself surrounded with people who understand what I'm talking about when I talk about trying to walk the way of Christ.

That is the reason for the initiation of this blog.  To provide a place where people can think about how they are living out God's will for them within his Plan for the Heavenly Kingdom as we know it here in our earthly lives.