i am really clumsy. 

today, for example, as i was reaching for my phone, i knocked over my mug of coffee. it went e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e..... i sat back, inwardly groaning at the instantaneous mess, and sighed. if you had been sitting at my kitchen table with me at that moment, i would've turned to you, shut my eyes, furrowed my brow, and said, "i'm gonna need a minute."

i do this kind of thing quite frequently. if i'm focused on something else (in this case, reading an article on my laptop), i don't give my full attention to the fact that there's a full coffee mug between my phone and my hand. if i'm running late, i make such haste that i don't take the time to situate something (or myself) properly and it all falls apart. 
the one that always gets me is when i'm carrying stuff in from the car. one trip, daggunnit. imma do this all at once if it kills me.

then i arrive at my front porch, bags ripping and falling out of my hands, purse dragging on the ground, keys nowhere to be found. one time i dropped the lid to a metal stockpot at the top of my (also metal) stairs. at 11 pm, the entire complex was rattled by the "clang-clang-clickety-clang-clang-claa-a-a-a-a-a-annnng." smooth.


i was reading an article about the slow process of spiritual discipline when i spilled my coffee today. and once i had stripped the table, started the washing machine, and wiped down every coffee-splattered surface, i started thinking about my pervasive clumsiness. in the very moment that i'm thinking about patience and endurance in discipline, about being diligent and full of care in sanctification, the simple act of answering the phone betrays just how little patience and care i practice regularly. if i don't have the patience to make two trips to the car, how much less patient am i with the slow and grueling process of spiritual growth?

there isn't one single way that i have been changed by the Spirit of Christ that isn't profound. He has reached into the far recesses of my soul and slowly pulled out glob after glob of sin-polluted gunk. His word has washed the dust and dirt from the crevices of my mind where i had trusted in earthly, passing things. with each bit of de-gunkifying i have become a different person; i am profoundly different because of the work of Christ in me. every moment, every thought, every action, every word, every choice, every purchase, every phone call, every day off is something very much other than what it would have been if my own will ruled over me. we're talking comprehensive overhaul. 

but every bit of it required careful, intentional, diligent, patient striving after God. it took assiduous introspection. sedulous study of scripture. implacable meditation on the gospel.

which means that, obviously, it was all by the grace of God. 

because i am clumsy. impatient. careless. lazy. foolish. and if i needed a reminder, behold: it's a puddle of coffee all over the floor.


i like it when the bible makes me laugh.

...but only because i am caught red-handed by it.

today's chuckle-bearing scripture-whipping was from isaiah twenty-eight.

"and now do not carry on as scoffers, or your fetters will be made stronger."

a couple of weeks ago, i shared with my community group that i had been experiencing a recent episode of conviction over my attitude toward sin; specifically, i had begun to notice that i have a seemingly innate desire to laugh at sin. i make a joke over it. i treat it with sarcasm or silliness. my sin, sin in the world, sin of others in my life ... i try to lighten the weight of all this sin with simple triviality. when a friend tells me a tale of their destructive behavior, which so clearly is the outward manifestation of an inward turmoil, i join them in having a good laugh over it. and when i share my own turmoils with trusted friends, even those friends who will faithfully administer the gospel salve to my gaping wounds, i try to ease the blow of confession with sarcasm.

do not be fooled, rachel. God cannot be mocked; a man reaps what he has sown.

tonight i am asking for stronger fetters. it is a dangerous request, but i entreat the Lord in utter solemnity. i know ... deeply, i know that i need tighter fetters. i do not welcome the raw flesh they will inflict upon me, but the reward is more than worth the injury.

the earth is broken asunder,
the earth is split through,
the earth is shaken violently,
the earth reels to and fro like a drunkard
and it totters like a shack,
for its transgression is  heavy upon it,
and it will fall, never to rise again.

but when the earth experiences Your judgments,
the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. 

isaiah twenty-four : nineteen and twenty; twenty-six : nine 

let me be bound by the fetters of Your judgment, for only then will i be bound for righteousness.



yesterday, i was reminded by events in the lives around me that life is a vapor. i had forgotten, momentarily; i had been seduced by the joys and pains of these moments and had become unmindful of the joys and pains of eternity.

this morning i woke up, i made a cup of coffee, and i wrote this poem. perhaps it will become a song someday, though i am not often brimming with creative melodies. not that my lyrics are much above mediocre, either ... my aspirations exceed my abilities, i know this full well. nevertheless, i digress.

Father Time played his trick on me again.
Seemed I'd found a happy dwelling and I started digging in.
But the Earth, it quaked and rumbled, dancing 'round its daily spin--
Father Time, he stole my days from me again,
Father Time, he plays a game I'll never win.

Mother Goose told me tales to make me yearn.
I was happy 'nough before, but still she knew I had to learn
That the happy-ever-after wouldn't make it to my turn.
Mother Goose told fairy tales to make me yearn,
Mother Goose gave me alonely, not the cure.

Brotherhood dulled the sting of passing through.
My companion did the good and bad as only he could do.
Now I miss those golden moments, but it helps that he does too.
Brotherhood dulled the sting because he knew,
Brotherhood, my fellow man, he struggles too.

Sister Friend left her mark upon my soul,
Held my hand as cru-el enemies brought nights as black as coal.
Sister proved her steadfast love, she stayed as long as River rolled,
But Sister Friend, bless her soul, she didn't know
That Sister Friend, still even she would have to go.

Life is but a string of days and nights in line.
At setting sun we still believe we'll see it rising one more time,
For tomorrow isn't promised, yet I drink as if it's mine.
Then I'm gone, just like a bell that's sung its chime.
The silent shell without a song stands as a sign.

Father God has set eternity in man,
Yet He has made us out of dust, and so we cling to dropping sand.
Holy Spirit sings a song of hope: we can be born again,
For Brother Christ defeated death with willing hands.
Our Brother Christ delivered us to promised land.
Brother Christ, He gives us life that never ends.



sometimes in the middle of a particularly grueling bout of sanctification, i like to yell at God, "why won't You just leave me alone!?!!?"

sometimes after a particularly grueling bout of sanctification, i like to say to God, "thank You for not leaving me alone."



it has a lot of meanings in our society. he's available: he's on the market, single and ready to mingle. there is a one o'clock slot available: there's an appointment open for you. i'm going to have a new availability in two weeks: the hours you can schedule me to work are going to change. 

but no matter the situation, 'available' means nothing until it is claimed as your own. there is infinite potential--it could be for a relationship, a hair cut, or a full time job. but until you take action, put your name on it, or show up for a shift, available doesn't make a single difference in your life.

God's readiness to give and forgive is now public. salvation is available for everyone! we're being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. this new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered Himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people He can be proud of, energetic in goodness.  titus two : eleven to fourteen

and not just that ... but sanctification is available for everyone as well. whenever someone asks me, "how do you know the Bible so well? how can you remember scripture and know when to speak it?" as if i have some special training in scripture-spewing. no, i have claimed it. it is mine. it is my daily bread. it is the best teacher i can have. it is Jesus without His flesh on (He was the Word made flesh). it is the mysteries of God made known to us (read first corinthians two). it is the mind of God made available to us through the teaching of His Spirit.

we have all we need for salvation in the work of Christ on the cross. and we have all we need for sanctification in the proclamation of Christ in all of scripture. if we so freely partake of the gift of salvation as it is made available to us, then why should we not as freely partake in the gift of sanctification? it is here, it is for everyone, it is yours for the taking.

grab a hold. 


adventures in baking: apple blueberry bran muffins

i don't know why it never occurred to me before today, but i love the culinary arts. i'm not abnormally talented in the kitchen, and i certainly don't have any special training (excluding my awesome grandmother), but i'm nearly always game for one cooking adventure or another, and more often than not, i am pleasantly surprised with the quality of the results.

today's adventure was FLAX SEED!! recently, several different friends shared an article on my google reader which gave ten suggested foods to add to your diet for better health. among them were apples, blueberries, and flax seed. now, i make a mean apple pie, and my banana bread is known for having blueberry surprise tucked inside, but i've never ever ever used flax seed. this week, i learned (from the aforementioned article) that "Flaxseed has been used for centuries for medicinal and health reasons. The seeds contain Omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids that help reduce inflammation and strengthen cell health. It has nutritional value, very usable protein, healthy fatty acids, and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Flaxseed is also a rich source of fiber." today, when i bought some milled flax seed, i also learned that it is naturally gluten free, which makes it a perfect fiber-booster for GF diets.

so i embarked on my first bran muffin adventure, as follows.

  • 1/3 cup milled flax seed
  • 1 1/3 cup flour (substitutes: 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white, or a gluten-free baking mix or rice flour)
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • two eggs
  • 1 tsp. almond extract (or vanilla)
  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped apples (i used my apple corer/peeler/slicer, then diced them even more)
  • 1/2 or 2/3 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed
  • 3 tsp. coconut oil, melted (or vegetable oil)
  • 2/3 cup milk
 preheat oven to 400* (350 for dark/nonstick). blend dry ingredients in medium bowl. in separate bowl, blend eggs, milk, almond extract, and oil. if using coconut oil, add last, as the cold milk and eggs will solidify it a bit. stir in dry ingredients; batter will be a little thick. fold in apples until well blended, then blueberries until just blended. spoon into well-greased muffin pan, about 2/3 full. don't overfill; these won't rise very much, so you don't want the tops to overflow. it'll look like a bad 80's haircut (the flat top). if desired, sprinkle tops lightly with raw or brown sugar, or drizzle tops with honey. bake for 18-20 minutes, until top springs back up when pressed. allow to cool completely before removing from the pan; the super-wet blueberries compromise the integrity of the muffin structure, especially while they're still hot.

yield: about 16-18 muffins.

here's a fun fact about flax seed: it can be used as a fat or egg substitute in a lot of recipes. 3 tbs. of flax seed can replace 1 tbs. of fat or oil, and if you mix 1 tbs. of flax seed with 3 tbs. of water, that equals one egg.  good fats, no cholesterol, and more fiber!!

hot from the oven

can you guess which color is my favorite?

beware the blueberries that make the edges crumble while they're hot!