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Sunday, 27 December 2009

My Web Wanderings (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

A Two Year Old's View of Christmas

I did say I wasn't going to do any more posts this year but I just had this conversation about Christmas with Little Girl which made me smile so I thought I'd post it:

Me: Tomorrow is Christmas Day - what do we do on Christmas Day?
LG: We eat Christmas cake.
Me: Yes, and what else do we do?
LG: We eat little Christmas cakes. [Christmas pudding]
Me: Yes, we eat Christmas pudding. What else do we do?
LG: We eat goose.
Me: Yes.
LG: We eat dinner.
Me: Yes, we eat Christmas dinner.
LG: We eat goose and Christmas dinner.
Me: That's right, we have goose for Christmas dinner. And we give...
LG:...thanks to Him and pray.
Me: Yes, we always give thanks to God don't we. Do we do anything else?
LG: We eat pineapple. [drink pineapple juice]
Me: Pineapple? Oh yes - we're going to have pineapple juice at breakfast time. And what do we give?
LG: We give presents to Daddy!

Christmas Card 2009

This will be my last post of the year (apart from a possible auto post from Diigo if I boomark anything) so I thought I'd close with a copy of the front of our Christmas card this year along with the text from the inside cover.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:20-23

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned
John 3:15-18a

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Annual Newsletter 2009

As we come to the end of the year, I thought it would be nice to share our (slightly modified for being online) annual newsletter:

Sinner Saved Family News
Our most exciting news this year is that in May we bought a house. We are two miles away from where we lived previously and we now have the benefit of a garden for Little Girl to play in. The house needs a lot of (mostly cosmetic) work done to it but it is nice to no longer be at the mercy of a landlord both in terms of what is done to the house and whether we are allowed to stay. Our new village is well provided for as it has all the amenities we had in our old village within five minutes (adults) walk plus additional shops and (to Little Girl's great delight) a part time library.

Hubby continues with his gardening work and Susan looks after Little Girl at home.

Last year Little Girl learned to walk; this year she has learned to talk and is quite a chatterbox when not pretending to be shy. She retains her love of books and requests to go to the library almost every day.

Little Girl enjoys reading, drawing, painting, going for walks and pretending to be Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Postman Pat and whoever else she thinks of. Horses frequently pass our house which always provides plenty of excitement as do the weekly bin lorries.

Little Girl is a great helper and she loves to cook and clean (either real or pretend) although sneaky sampling tends to be the most popular part of cooking. She also enjoys helping Daddy outside in the garden although this "help" usually involves picking flowers while Daddy does all the work.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Whoops a Daisy (slightly not using freezer stash)

Although I was supposed to be not buying meat at the moment due to my rather excessive stock of it I managed to buy a 2kg (4 1/2 lb) leg of lamb on Friday. It was reduced to £3.50/kg because it was going out of date on Saturday and that is a very good price for lamb (plus I didn't have any lamb in my stash) so I figured it was worth it. I cooked it overnight in the slow cooker so we could have it for lunch and then I made stock from the bones (also in the slow cooker) some of which I used for the spaghetti bolognaise I had already planned to make with some mince and liver from the freezer. We ended up with five meals worth of spaghetti bolognaise in the freezer (i.e. 5 x 2.5 portions) and a huge heap of lamb to use up before Christmas so this week's plan features a lot of lamb:

Mon: Ham and lentil soup from the freezer.
Tues: Lamb and spinach risotto.
Wed: Lamb, mashed potato (with parsnip in) and veg.
Thurs: Lamb pasta.
Fri: Christmas Dinner: Salmon and cream cheese parcels. Goose, sausages wrapped in bacon, carrots, sprouts, peas, potatoes roasted in the goose fat. Christmas pudding.
Sat: Same as Friday.
Sun: Freezer meal.

From the freezer stash this will use the goose and the sausages in bacon (both of which we specifically bought for Christmas obviously) and probably some frozen veg depending on what fresh veg we pick up. Other than the usual rotation of home made bread and fruit loaf, we shouldn't be adding anything to the freezer this week which will be good.

Friday, 18 December 2009


This is what we had yesterday:

Then today there was even more. It's still less than two inches but you never know - it might be all we get this winter. Little Girl was so excited this morning she wanted breakfast straight away so she could go and play in the snow. She was planning to make "scrambled egg on toast, pancakes and porridge" but since we already had baked porridge from yesterday we went for that.

Apparently she is "digging like a man". (I think she means digging like the workmen who are replacing the water pipes in our street.)

Monday, 14 December 2009

A Funny Old Week

Last week my husband had extra work on Monday and Tuesday which meant he finished his Monday shift at 0200hrs on Tuesday and then started his Tuesday shift at 1000hrs. So that he could sleep in on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, he slept in Little Girl's room when he got home and when I went to bed I took her to sleep with me. Unfortunately the first night she took ages to go to sleep and then by the time she got sleep I couldn't sleep so I ended up with only three hours sleep that night.

By Thursday we were all pretty much recovered from all the sleep disturbance but we didn't have water on those two days so we tried to go out in the mornings to minimise the time at home without water. (I say "tried" because we were unsuccessful on Thursday due to the car having a flat battery but we managed to jump start it on Friday.)

Between sleep disturbance, going out and not having water my menu plan got thrown out the window a bit although I did manage to use everything which needed to be used and make a nice big batch of lentils and rice. On Saturday I did manage to bake bread, fruit loaf and muffins most of which I somehow managed to jam into the freezer and amazingly despite the lack of water I managed to keep up with the washing.

Since everything has been so busy recently and the freezer is still somehow overflowing (despite the fact I've only spent £20 on food this month most of which was milk, eggs and fruit) I've decided to make this week a freezer meal week instead of doing "proper" cooking and a menu plan.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Menu Plan Monday (Operation "Use Freezer Stash" #2)

Mon: Chicken, potato, cabbage and squash.
Tues: Cheesy pasta and veg.
Wed: Veg casserole with lentils & rice and fresh salsa.
Thurs: Chicken, potato, cabbage and carrot.
Fri: Meatloaf, potato, carrot plus other veg as yet undetermined.
Sat: Same as Wed.
Sun: Freezer meal.

From the freezer stash this uses one chicken, 1/2lb mince some frozen veg and three freezer meals (Wed, Fri and Sun) but probably creates two or three 1/2lb portions of lentils and rice depending on the size of the soup.

For more details, you can click to view my paper menu plan:

NB. The start of the week is changed from Thursday because when we had a veg box delivery it was on Wednesdays so I used to plan Thursday to Wednesday.

Feel free to leave comments or ask questions.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

My Web Wanderings (weekly)

  • tags: no_tag

    • There are many items you could donate to BONNIE BABIES







      All items donated are very much appreciated and help us in making

      many tiny items



      PO BOX 9269


      PA28 6WS
  • tags: crafts

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Faith and Pop Culture by Christianity Today

I received this study guide through the Thomas Nelson Book review blogger program. Although it is designed to be used as a study guide for a small group, it is perfectly readable independently. I was very interested to see what it had to say about how Christians engage in popular culture. In addition to the obvious subjects such as films, TV and books, the book also looks at the Christian response to sport, entertainment, the place of violence in entertainment, our entertainment based culture and the place of Christians within the entertainment industry.

I found this book very useful and interesting as it challenged my views in a number of areas and made me think about certain issues I had not particularly thought through. Each section started with a question to address (e.g. "Must all entertainment Christians enjoy be "family friendly"?) followed by Bible references, an introduction to the issue and then an essay putting forth a particular Christian viewpoint.

After this there was a study to work through which led the reader (or small group) through the issue in a way which made them think about the issue with reference to the Bible without dictating answers. Although I did not always agree with the views which expressed, the clear aim was to help people look at issues from a Biblical perspective and it certainly helped me to do this and has made me more open minded about certain issues.

Although it is meant for a small group study I would certainly recommend it to anyone who wants to think through these issues from a Biblical perspective.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Menu Plan Monday (Operation "Use Freezer Stash")

Mon: Pasta, Ratatouille, cheese.
Tues: Ham, potato and cabbage.
Wed: Ham and lentil soup.
Thurs: Spaghetti Bolognaise.
Fri: Ham, potato, cabbage plus other veg as yet undetermined.
Sat: Ham and lentil soup from Wed.
Sun: Freezer meal.

From the freezer stash this uses one gammon joint, some frozen veg and two freezer meals (Thurs and Sun) but probably creates two or three freezer meals depending on the size of the soup.

For more details, you can click to view my paper menu plan:

NB. The start of the week is changed from Thursday because when we had a veg box delivery it was on Wednesdays so I used to plan Thursday to Wednesday.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

My Understanding of the Five Points of Calvinism

This post is partly in response to someone asking for an explanation of Calvinism and partly because I have been meaning to write down what I mean when I say that I subscribe to these points so that I can reference it when having online discussions. It is a description of my beliefs/understanding and is not intended to be telling anyone else what they should or should not believe. I have not provided supporting Bible references for the points because I am just describing what I understand them to mean - not trying to argue their case.

Total Depravity
I think this term is open to a lot of misunderstanding as most people would understand "total" depravity to mean the worst and most extreme depravity. Also depravity tends to be used as a description of the worst sins of man. My understanding is that depravity is being used to describe the badness or sinfulness of man. The quantification described by the term "total" is saying that man is sinful rather than perfect (i.e. you can't be partly sinful - you either are or you aren't) rather than quantifying how sinful we are. Clearly everyone is not as sinful as is possible to be but this is not what is meant my total depravity.

The way I understand it, this phrase is making the point that because man is entirely sinful (as opposed to partially sinful), we are unable to earn our salvation. Because of our sin it is impossible for us to be good enough.

Unconditional Election
To me this means that our salvation is not conditional on our actions. We cannot earn our salvation through our works but gain it only through the work of Christ on the cross. (This does not however mean works are wrong - I would consider works to be fruits of faith.)

Limited Atonement
Christ's sacrifice did not pay for everyone's sins. It paid for the since of those who were elected by God to receive the gift of salvation. An opposing view is that Christ died for all but some people choose not to avail themselves of it. Another view is that after we die, those who did not accept Christ's sacrifice will have another opportunity to do so that all will have been atoned for in the end. "Limited atonement" disagrees with both of these ideas.

Irresistible Grace
This is the idea that if God chooses to save you by his grace then you cannot resist it. I find this particularly difficult to explain but I know that I cannot choose not to believe any more than I can choose not to believe in gravity or that the grass is green. I like the way Delirious? put it in one of their songs which says, "I believe I've chosen you believing that you've chosen me."

Perseverance of the Saints (aka "Once Saved, Always Saved")
Pretty much, this means that if someone is saved, then they cannot become "unsaved". If someone makes a profession of faith and appears to be a genuine believer but at a later point in their life becomes apostate, it is reasonable to assume that they were never truly saved in the first place. Of course, someone who is saved will still sin though so just because someone who professes to be a Christian commits a humongous sin does not automatically mean that they must not really be saved. Unfortunately, this particular point has been known to lead people to try to judge whether someone is saved or not which can then lead to people trying to "prove" their salvation through works. Personally, if someone professes to be a Christian and their life so far as I can tell does not clearly contradict that profession, then I will accept them at their word.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

What's in Your Freezer?

Last week I finally got around to doing a stock check of my freezer. I knew I had quite a bit of meat but I was surprised my how much I have - about 17kg (~37lbs) meat and 3kg (~7lbs) fish. I guess I need to do some serious menu planning so that I can get it used up before I get any more.

Here's what I had when I did the stock check:

2 x 1.2kg gammon joints (I think Americans would call it ham but we only call it ham after it is cooked)
4 x 1kg gammon joints
4 X 540g sausages (breakfast sausage?)
400g sausages
750g pork mince (ground pork)
250g liver
2 whole chickens
3 x 850g turkey thigh joints
500g chicken breast
goose breast and sausages in bacon (for Christmas dinner)
1.1kg haddock fillets
400g mackerel fillets
1kg salmon fillets
400g coley
200g prawns
2 x 2 salmon fishcakes
1/2 pkg parsnips
1/4 pkg cauliflower
1/2 pkg sweetcorn
1 pkg spinach
1 chopped celery
250g grated carrot
1 bag of foraged blackberries
2 bags of shop bought frozen fruit
3 bags of cooked apple
Homemade stuff
3 cups duck stock
4 cups mashed potato
pea risotto
2 x prawn pasta
veg soup
3 x veg casserole
bean and corn stew
2 x cheese and leek potato
random risotto
2 x apple crumble
11 cups baked beans
2 half loaves of bread
Random other bits and pieces
2 x pate
1 pizza
1 tub ice cream
1 packet of cheese cut into cubes
7 x 250g butter

Since then, we've used up a few of the pre-homemade meals (to make space for freezing meals I make with all that meat) and I've bought three packets of bacon, four bags of frozen veg, two bags of frozen fruit, six bags of grated cheese (I buy cheap pre-grated cheese and freeze it for use in cooking), 16 blocks of butter and two whole rainbow trout (which were reduced - this is how I have so much meat) all of which have been added to the freezer.

Currently we're still using up the frozen meals but from next Monday I intend to post menu plans of how I'm using up my freezer stash.

What do you have in your freezer?

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

"I wonder what they do teach them at these schools"


A Belated Halloween Update

Since our computer broke the day before Halloween, I never got the chance to update on how it went.

We bought ten of these story bibles and we had eleven trick or treaters who called (aged around 5 to 9 at a guess) so the last one got a Bible colouring book instead as we have a huge stash of them.

Apparently though people don't get taught how to read a calendar these days as six of the trick or treaters called a day early.

They seemed to be well received and hopefully they will read them and God will work in their hearts. The only problem that occurred was when Little Girl got upset because she has a story bible the same as the ones we were giving away and she thought we were giving hers away.

Monday, 23 November 2009

I know she's tall

but does my daughter really look like she should be in school?

This morning we went for a walk in the village and someone made a comment about her not being in school. She's only two and a half! Education (not school) isn't even compulsory for her until September 2012. And if random strangers are making comments now, what is it going to like in a few years time?

Sunday, 22 November 2009

My Web Wanderings (weekly)

  • I've highlighted a few exerpts of this post but do go and read the whole post and leave some words of encouragement.

    tags: Rejoice in the LORD

    • I love my Lord , and his son.
    • I am changed , newborn , born again , alone in hostile territories , my heart breaking by circumstances I could never have foreseen , yet these heartbroken words are just one more way that god forges in me faith.
    • Behind the screen , worlds away from you sets a 28 year old newborn christian.
      With a husband who hates Christianity , with a heart that struggles in it's first christian breaths.
    • They helped me on a struggle to recognize christ. Not just as a person , but as an extension of God. I have to admit now in a near heartbreaking and joy filled recognition.
    • It was the first time in years I had connected with any group. These ladies answered me honestly , and while some helped me willingly , some helped me without doing a thing. Somehow through the companionship of these ladies I felt alive , through bad and good I had someplace to share.

      I was still a pagan , not to be accepted into the christian folds.
      Believe or Leave !!

      I must see to believe , and through these ladies I questioned myself
    • I began a long term relationship with the ladies , and as you can probably see , It changed me
    • Yet I was a PART , and I loved the people there , and I was free to question their beliefs
    • I did not come to the group in a nice manner , but direct and unashamed of who I was , and despite my differences , I was mostly accepted.
    • I went in swinging , pagan amongst a group of Christians and a few atheists as well.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Involuntary hiatus

Just a quick post to say our computer is broken at the moment so I probably won't be posting for a while. I'm currently at the library but I have limited time and there are too many other things which are higher priority at tthe moment.

Thursday, 22 October 2009



That is the greatest gift God has given me.

Forgiveness for all the wrong things I have said, done or thought and all the wrong things I will say do or think in the future. He gave me that gift even though I don't deserve it.

I have accepted God's forgiveness but it is hard to forgive others.

"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

How can I pray this prayer unless I forgive?

"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

A couple of days ago I saw this video on Mommylife:

I could honestly say the first five of those things about my parents. (Thankfully not the sixth and seventh.) But what about the eighth (final) one? That is very difficult and something I have been struggling with for a long time - particularly since having a child of my own.

I find myself wondering how someone can go from loving their child unconditionally to not? How did things change? Or did they ever love me? Why me? Are they even aware that they treat me differently to my brothers?

I recently read the writings of one blogger who claimed she didn't need to forgive her parents because they need to repent first.

I disagree.

But it still isn't that easy.

I was still thinking and praying about this when I saw a YouTube link posted in the comments on Amanda's recent post.

(A copy of the lyrics can be found here.)

Who am I to withhold forgiveness? I who have been richly blessed with a forgiveness I am unworthy of? Listening to that song reminded me that I have no justification not to forgive (unlike God who is perfect).

Yesterday I still wasn't ready to do so.

But today I did.

I thought I couldn't let go of all the wrongs but that was not true.

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

After all, who am I?

I feel such a weight off my heart.
"Rejoice in the Lord alway"

Monday, 19 October 2009

My Web Wanderings (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Halloween Ponderings

Halloween has been on my mind for a few weeks now thanks to a not so lovely display of horror masks, devil's forks etc. in our local Coop. Through Heather's Halloween post, I found this interesting article on whether Christians should celebrate Halloween. I do actually agree with a lot of the points Dr Bucher makes but in my experience, whilst the activities of trick or treating and Halloween parties may not be morally objectionable, the obligatory costumes which go with them are.

Aside from needing to prevent Little Girl from grabbing the devils forks and Halloween sweets every time we go to the shop, the only thing different to last year is we need to decide how to deal with trick or treaters. I think the first two years we were married we happened to be out on Halloween anyway and after that people didn't bother so we never had to deal with them. This year however, we live in a house which most people in our estate pass on the way to school and they will have noticed that we are new people in our house so there is a high likelihood of people calling.

We could view people coming to our house asking us to give them something as an opportunity to give them something of greater worth than sweets (which rot your teeth) and give them say a children's story bible:

I know some people give tracts but I think a children's bible is probably more likely to be kept and read and has more content in it too. We are unsure whether it is a good idea to encourage what could be considered to be begging* by giving anything out at all even if it isn't what they are expecting but in Acts 3, Peter healed the beggar who asked for money.

The alternative of course would be to just not answer the door but this seems like such a waste of an opportunity.

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

*Since this has been a bit controversial I feel I should add a bit of clarification. When I used the term "begging", the definition I had in my mind was something like this: "Begging is the practice whereby a person obtains money, food, shelter or other things from people they encounter by request." (Which can be found at the bottom of this page.) I was not trying to imply that trick or treaters are beggars in the usual meaning of the term "beggar" any more than a person who runs once a year could be considered to be a runner. Also the trick or treaters I am talking about are unaccompanied children knocking on the doors of random strangers who have done nothing to solicit such calls - I am not talking about children accompanied by their parents calling on people who have indicated they welcome such calls. My only experience of trick or treating is the former and I have never come across the latter in real life. I am sorry I caused offence with my choice of words.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

A clump of cells?

A lot of "pro-choice" or "pro-abortion" people seem to justify abortion on the basis that the "foetus" is "just a clump of cells".

Even at eight weeks this "clump of cells" doesn't look very "clump of cell"-like to me.

Ten weeks: does it look like a clump of cells to you?

At sixteen weeks this looks like a baby to me.

At 18 weeks, this unborn baby would still be a potential victim of abortion for another six weeks.

I wonder, if women considering abortion were shown these pictures, how many would still choose it?

"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them."

Psalm 139:14-16

Monday, 12 October 2009

My Web Wanderings (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Summer Days

Since I haven't written much since we moved house, I decided I'd try to get back into things by doing a picture post of our summer.

Our (wild overgrown) garden when we moved in:

It came complete with wildlife which kept Little Girl well occupied in observation.

A trip to Beamish. (This is an old coal truck used to bring mined coal up to the surface.)

Slowly getting sorted out after the move...

Sleeping in.

Waiting for the ferry to Skye.

Summer holiday in Skye.

Hmm... I must look up that flower.

Back home sorting out the tomato plants.

Playing in a tamed part of the garden.

Canning tomatoes. (Not our own, they're only just ripening now.)

"Helping" in the kitchen. (Unsolicited.)

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