ken jennings made my day

It’s been my secret desire to be tweeted by a celebrity.  I had high hopes that it would be Simon Pegg or perhaps Joel McHale.  Never did I imagine that Ken Jennings would be my first.

While I am slightly embarrassed over the topic of “conversation” I had with Ken Jennings, it won’t stop me from sharing the Google results that were uncovered today.  “Foot fetish” returns 13.7 million hits, and “nose fetish” isn’t too far behind at 12.2 million hits.  (A Google search for the general term fetish returns over 147 million hits.)

It was a nice relief to see other responses on Twitter that indicated that, um, I’m not the only one that prefers noses.

Well, which do you think is sexier?  Noses or toes? Oh, and which celebrity would you ever like to make contact with?

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spring waits for no robin

I have yet to see my first robin of the year, but still I know that Spring is coming.  A quick glance at my outdoor plants will tell you that they are ever hopeful that snow and frost are behind us.  All of the outdoor plants (except the basil) have survived our mild Virginian winter, and new growth on nearly all of them is very evident.

Not pictured but not any less loved:  Concorde Grape Vines, White Carpet Rose Bush, Azaleas

my tea party

I had decided to invite the ladies from my church and a few neighbors to my home for an afternoon of tea.  I had never hosted an event for all of the ladies nor had I ever hosted a tea, so I was really excited about the planning and preparations.  Okey’s mother had given me her silver tea set (shown below) a long time ago, and I was really excited to finally put it to use.  I also was happy to entertain with Okey’s cast iron pot (also shown below).

I decided to not overcook as I did not want to be wasteful nor spend more time than necessary in the kitchen.  My menu for the afternoon consisted of chocolate chip cookies, cucumber sandwiches, lemon cake with homemade frosting, scones and fresh grapes.  I offered Wegman’s Jasmine Pearl (a green tea) and Yerba Maté (an herbal tea) as well as some good ol’ Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

After reviewing dozens of websites about tea, and what to serve at a tea, I decided that this would be an American tea.  In other words, I didn’t like most of their suggestions.  Their cucumber sandwiches consisting of crustless white bread with butter, mayonnaise and cucumbers just looked so bland.  So I had cut a baguette into small pieces which I buttered (a tip I learned to keep the bread from getting moist from the cucumber), then I added a thin sliced cucumber, and topped it with a cream cheese/dill combination.  It was refreshingly light and (I thought) visually appetizing.

The one recipe I didn’t alter very much was the one for scones.  I really enjoyed Betty Crocker’s simple dried currant cherry scone’s ease and simplicity. I can’t believe I’ve never made scones before.  I am going to add this recipe into my rotation; it’s that delightful.  (Unfortunately, I cannot find the exact recipe on Betty’s website, and the copyright prohibits me from sharing it here.  I am so sorry to be tempting you, so here is a link to a very similar recipe for scones.  Simply omit the vanilla and add half a cup of whatever dried fruit you desire.  Half and half can also work in lieu of heavy whipping cream.  ;))

Betty also has the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve ever used.  I’d be remiss not to share it here.

I had a wonderful time with the dear ladies and would love to host another tea again soon.

tobacco, cotton & flax

I am pleased to write that my cotton and flax seeds have arrived.  Thankfully, the cotton and flax seeds are much more manageable than my tobacco seeds.  They are larger.

Here are some facts that I’ve gathered from across the web.

Tobacco

Germination:  7-28 days
Maturation/Harvest:  3 months
Typically planted in March or April.

Tobacco links:
http://www.articlesbase.com/gardening-articles/4-easy-steps-growing-tobacco-from-seed-1129748.html
http://www.gardening-guides.com/herbs/tobacco-an-howto.php

Flax

Germination:  21-28 days
Maturation/Harvest: 3-4 months
Typically planted in May.

Flax links:
http://www.flaxcouncil.ca/english/index.jsp?p=growing2&mp=growing
http://www.ehow.com/how_7846520_harvest-flax-seeds.html

Cotton

Germination:  7-10 days
Maturation/Harvest: 4-5 months
Typically planted in late April/early May.

Cotton links:
http://www.ehow.com/about_6502234_life-cycle-cotton-plant.html
http://www.selfsufficientish.com/cotton.htm
http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G4268

Another good reference site regarding plants that I have found is the Virginia Extension Office.

I will have to start getting the cotton ready to germinate next.  In preparation for that, I have requested a copy of A Weaver’s Garden: Growing Plants for Natural Dyes and Fibers by Rita Buchanan from my local library.  I cannot wait to see what tips the author will share.

question #2

Question: What does it mean to be a Christian?

I find myself asking this question when I see a car with an ichthus symbol cut off another driver or when a neighbor who goes to church every week responds to an unfortunate inconvenience by saying “I don’t care if she’s dying.” They seem to go through the motions of being a Christian but show nothing of it.

I have been told by an acquaintance that he considered himself to be Christian although he didn’t believe that Jesus was or could be Divine. He felt that he respected the “do unto others” and “love thy neighbor” preachings of Jesus and tried to follow that code. Another friend serves selflessly and with a generous heart, but doesn’t consider herself to be Christian. Here they exacted works but showed no faith.

This is a question that I have been journalling about for quite some time, 8 or nine years. It’s been a way for me to study and understand my faith as I observe others and myself. Very recently, as part of an application, I have been asked to define my Christian parameters and I thought I would share these along with my answers here.

What do you believe about Jesus Christ and what is your relationship with Him?

I believe that Jesus Christ is God. He existed before creation, and He took the form of man. He walked the earth healing the sick, ministering to masses, and teaching men to follow Him. He was crucified on the cross for the sins of mankind; this includes my sins. He was resurrected after three days, appearing to His followers, then ascended into Heaven. Through the teachings of Jesus’ apostles found in the Holy Bible I am blessed to learn more of the Messiah. My relationship with Jesus Christ consists of prayer, petitioning and meditation.

How is the work of the Holy Spirit active in your life?

The Holy Spirit is what led me to Christ. Like a conscience, the Holy Spirit convicts me and shows me my sin. The Holy Spirit moves me and encourages me to reach out to other people. I believe I have been gifted with hospitality and listening when there are needs.

How is your personal growth in faith and obedience to God nurtured and encouraged in your life?

I grew up in a Christian home where the scripture was read every evening after dinner. I describe my parents at times as my “spiritual” parents as they were the ones that led me to Christ. They have been a great example to me as they minister to disabled children and have always opened their home to visitors. Now that I live six hours from them, I have my husband and church family, in addition to the Holy Bible, to rely on for spiritual guidance.

Would you describe your involvement with your church or parish?

My husband and I have been attending our church for two years and became members as of January this year. Despite being “new” members, we have been active in the church for some time. We are involved with our Sunday School class, and I volunteer in the food pantry once a month. We are blessed to be in a church where the Holy Spirit is active and where the members truly desire to know God.

What are your plans for your child’s Christian development?

I will raise my child to know that the ways of the Lord are righteous My husband and I will pray with and for this child daily. We will have our child attend Sunday School. I hope that this child will come to know the Saviour at an early age, but I would wait wanting the child to accept Jesus with genuine faith and would not pressure him or her.

I feel like I could expand my answers, but I don’t think they are looking for scholarly responses citing references.

The Bible is the Christian’s basic informational resource before leaving earth, yet it’s not a manual with clearly defined rules and procedures. (And even then the things that are spelled out clearly are mostly ignored.) Can you be a heretic and a Christian? There are so many churches and beliefs, surely someone somewhere is going to call you a heretic. I just read in the news today that pastor and author Rob Bell has been declared a heretic by Justin Taylor and John Piper for his beliefs in universalism. (Universalism, simply put, is the belief that everyone will end up in heaven for there is no hell.)

Leaving that bag of worms open, and returning to my original question, I will end with John 14:6:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”