don’t cut the butter.

Cooking for one stinks.  Especially in an under-established kitchen.  I’m pretty well set for utensils, but I haven’t yet collected a stock of low-priced staples, like cans of crushed tomatoes and meals that are otherwise ready to assemble.  In fact, I have no tomatoes to speak of.  This should be remedied soon.  Yeesh.

 Anyway, after cooking a flop of a dinner (an “alfredo” sauce made from a can of cream of mushroom soup…I know, you can rightfully think I’m pathetic because I am) I decided to redeem myself with a pan of apple crisp.  I have a pretty successful recipe that has been passed down for generations.  Well…I should clarify that while I think I might be the second generation (I got the recipe from my mom when I lived in my first apartment)…and it’s very likely a recipe from Betty Crocker, which has endured at least 2 more generations.  Anyway, my roommate has a bucket of baking apples in the fridge, so it was meant to be.

 Except I thought I could be conservative with the butter.  At more than $2.50 a pound, it’s not a well-stocked item in my fridge.  To use an entire stick on a batch of apple crisp that likely won’t be shared (and if it is now, it won’t be as good because of its camping in the fridge) seems like a waste.  So I cut a corner…a partially used stick (about 2T taken off for some garlic bread and toast) sufficed.  I got it all ready, bopped over to the high school to watch a colleague’s program and came back to cook that crisp.  It looked OK, even smelled right (great flavor of baking apples, though they turned out a bit like applesauce after baking).  But the crust was all wrong.  Maybe because my recipe omitted the specific amount of oatmeal (I guessed 1.5C), or maybe because it didn’t have enough butter.  There were dry parts.  My brothers [and sisters], this should not be.  The butter holds it together.  Don’t skimp, moral of the story.  I contemplated adding a T or 2 of margarine (that’s a price I can live with), but thought…nah, it’ll be fine.  Next time, I’ll try it if in a bind.

 Living in Indianola has had some peak and valley moments.  I love free time at home (at the mention of possible snow, my ears perked up because I immediately thought about a couple crafty projects consuming my attention as of late).  I’m trying to develop patterns of a responsible housekeeper; cleaning regularly, putting things away even though no one will see it out before I use it next (i.e. shoes and coat, dishes, bags).  I’m doing moderately well.  My apartment pictures are incriminating though because I took them in the midst of doing some planning for school (hence the computer which I’m writing on).

 Valley moments haven’t necessarily been a result of living here.  I woke up with some inexplicable anxiety this morning.  I am ready for a few days off for Thanksgiving, I think, and some time to carefully plan out the weeks before Christmas to include some holiday song singing, some fun activities, and some quality music learning.  Join me in praying for security resting in the Lord in this season, and not in my “best laid plans.”

 Another peak/valley split is the addition of an antenna for my TV here.  I’m somewhat connected to the outside world now (I can monitor the weather), but last night I had it on (I turned on The Biggest Loser while baking the crisp…and eating it with a cuppa coffee) just to have it on, and fell asleep on the couch to it.  That’s a pattern I don’t want to get in because it’s a waste of precious time.  Can I enjoy some shows?  YOU BET.  I just don’t want it to become my only entertainment, especially with so many projects to be doing.  Now, it does make a nice medium for knitting…but I need to get a feel for the balance.  Library movies are slightly less convenient than in Ames…3-day checkouts and no returns in the book drop.  They also don’t open until 10:00 a.m., so it’s imperative that I remember to do it after school.  Yeesh.

 The church search is suspended for a bit:  I spent last weekend in Ames and will spend the next 2 there.  Reading through doctrine statements and beliefs has been good, but overwhelming.  In a couple points I am not in full agreement, and I can’t help but wonder if those things (rib issues, not spine issues) will be divisive later on. 

Specific statements about baptism are hard for me to wrap my head around—particularly the language about immersion.  On the one hand there are plenty of examples of river/lake baptisms in the NT, but John 3 describes that being the result of there being lots of water in one particular area.  So while the immersion represents the rebirth/birth of the water more fully, Ezekiel 36:25-27 talks about the putting of God’s Spirit in us through the sprinkling of clean water (and a new heart of flesh to replace our hearts of stone, the removal of idols, etc…).  I was sprinkled, folks.  And I believe I was baptized in the name of Jesus and in the Spirit.  Those two things were separated by a few years, but there isn’t anywhere that I can find in scripture that says they have to be at the same time.  Think of the delay between baptism and the reception of the Spirit in Acts.  It’s kind of frequent.  One might argue:  they were baptized fully believing in the new covenant, you weren’t.  You were likely not even aware of the person holding you and putting water on your head.  Granted, but I affirmed that baptism, making it my public choice to hold to the commands of the Lord (and cling to His infinite grace and mercy).  Which also isn’t in the Bible, but it covers the obedience to the command.  Ephesians speaks pretty specifically about one baptism as it does one body of believers.

 If I could do it all over again, maybe I’d make it less complicated and be baptized consciously at an age where I sort of understood it, but I don’t regret the road that God has given me.  In fact, my mixed denomination background gives me a greater desire for the One body of believers; let’s break down the walls of division we build within the family of God by denominational boundaries.  Do I want everyone to worship like I do?  Nah—that’s not necessary (but I ask:  who is worship for?).  Is it essential that all Christ followers have a fish on the back of their minivan?  Nope.  Wear dresses and ties to church?  Nope.  Paul, when speaking in regard to weak believers, says to make every effort to welcome them and not cause them to stumble.  If wearing jeans in a House of Worship causes someone else to stumble, we should be sensitive to that.  And so on.  But we shouldn’t , in our caution, become weaker believers who get hung up on these things.  For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery [Galatians 5:1].

Have a grace-filled end of the week!

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