Thursday, March 31, 2016

Math and Eternity

I have been working through a math textbook.

I am actually beginning to enjoy it.

I will even choose to do some math when I have free time!

Something about doing math is (almost) calming now.

It was a source of grief and anxiety when I was young, the fodder for nightmares even after finishing college.

There I was back in Mrs. White's class and I hadn't done my homework or I wasn't ready for the test...

I used to think I wasn't good at math.

Now I begin to see that it was less about me.

I didn't have the space and time I needed to pursue it.

The television was always on.

The kitchen table was always cluttered.

I didn't have the reason to.

I was only doing it to pass, to get on to the next class so I could pass it, too.

A lot of things were like that.

There was a lot of doing, but always missing the point.

There was learning without understanding.

I never considered doing math for its own sake.

Now I really just want to know.

I still make mistakes and I still come across things I don't understand, but these situations aren't frightening like they were where in school.

I think this is because now I know that I have all the time in the world, even into eternity, to understand what I don't understand yet.

So I am just enjoying the pursuit of understanding.

That's the thing about honestly believing that you are going to live forever.

The promise works on you in ways you never imagined it would.

For God so loved the world... 

It changes the way you think, the way you live, the way you use your time.

that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes...

That belief in eternity makes you brave enough to start things you may never finish in this life.

So why not begin to learn math?

Why not begin to learn anything?

You have forever to figure it out.

And nothing you gain will be lost to the grave.

will not perish...

I am not afraid now to begin searching for the hidden joys in difficult and mundane tasks.

I'm not afraid to forego fleeting pleasures.

I have infinite time to feel joy, infinite time to pursue worthwhile things.

...but have everlasting life. 

So here I go, slowly, slowly...

learning math and doing every other good thing into infinity.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My First Commonplace Book

I've started a commonplace book.

I first heard about these in The Well Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer.

Apparently, all the cool kids were doing it back in colonial times (including Thomas Jefferson.)

A commonplace book is like a journal. Chances are you already have one.

It's a blank book where readers write down quotes, pieces of poetry or prose, etc.

So far, in mine, I've got quotes from books, notes on books, essays, and Google searches.

I've got definitions, Bible verses, etc.

I also write down my questions as they come to mind, so that I won't forget to ask them again.

I am beginning to think the right questions can be just as important as answers anyway.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Beef Short Ribs

I made beef short ribs today.

Getting half a grass fed cow every year forces me to do two things.

First, in order to know what to tell our butcher, I have to better and better understand the anatomy of a cow and how it is processed into various pieces of meat. That's really interesting.

Second, I also have to learn how to cook pieces of meat that I would never go to the store and buy, such as short ribs.

Fatty and tough at the same time, I find that short ribs are really difficult to do well.

My goal this year was to make them edible, simply.

One year, I prepared them using a traditional rib recipe and they were literally swimming in their own grease, so we had to throw them out without even eating them.

Another year, I think I just gave them still frozen to my friend who knows how to cook them, so I wouldn't have to bother trying.

This year, I par boiled them for about thirty minutes in order to rid them of excess fat, following a friend's advice.

Then I lined a baking sheet with foil and placed a rack on the sheet and then placed them on top of the rack.

Once they cooled a little, I rubbed them with spicy mustard and a dry rub made for steaks.

I cooked them for two hours at 300 degrees, uncovered for one hour, covered with foil the second hour.

I served them with brown rice cooked in beef bone broth and seasoned with kosher salt, garlic and onion powder, and Oregano.

I also served carrots and green beans, overcooked because I wasn't paying careful attention, then covered in a bit too much butter, also because I wasn't really paying attention.

Needless to say, it was not the leanest or healthiest of meals.

But the ribs were edible, even edible enough for our picky kids. So I am calling it a win.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Avril's 7th Birthday

We celebrated Avril's seventh birthday today. We had spaghetti, her favorite meal.  We gave her seven modest gifts including new clothes and little toys that she likes to collect.  And then we sang and had cupcakes.  I am thankful for my middle child who makes me feel like a good mom, though I begin to understand she's just naturally easy-going and I have little to do with her good behavior. She is a patient little sister, an attentive big one, and an affectionate daughter to her dad and I.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter 2016

Today is Easter.  And my joy in the living God overflows.  

I delight in many things: my family, friends, my hearth, books, meals, music, work. 

But my greatest joy is in the ongoing conversation I have with God through Jesus Christ and because of the presence of the Holy Spirit.  

His constant friendship makes my simple life the grandest adventure. 

In Him, I find the source of all earthly and eternal joys. 

My soul says with the Psalmist, "You are my Lord. Apart from you, I have no good thing."