Tuesday, October 31

Potatofest 2006: Wrapping It Up

Yes, sadly, it's time for Potatofest to end. This party's had more participation than I hoped, and that made it more fun than I'd anticipated. But all good things must end, so this is the last Potatofest post. But we've saved some of the best for last, so read on and soak in the potato pleasure.

First up, my real life friend Judy give us instructions for making lefse, that scrumptious Norwegian potato treat, or, as Judy calls it, Norwegian manna.
2 1/2 pounds of baking potatoes
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups flour
Soft butter and sugar for serving

Peel and boil potatoes. Drain and cool.
Put potatoes through a ricer or mash. Beat in butter, cream, sugar and salt. Refrigerate uncovered.

The next day add flour. Stir well. Divide into 20 pieces. Heat grill or pan.

On a floured surface roll out the balls into circles as thin as possible. (My grandmother would slip the wooden stick out of a window shade and use it to transfer the lefse to the griddle.) Cook on each side of the ungreased pan. Stack between towels. After they are cool I stack them together, fold in half and place in a large plastic bag.

As needed butter and sugar a circle. Fold in half and butter and sugar again. Fold once again and cut the quarter in half. I've heard that some people butter, sugar and then roll their lefse. No one I know does.
Yep, as you may have guessed, I'm the naughty girl who rolls her lefse instead of folding it. Judy says these lefse have a Moorish taste, according to her grandfather, "Vell it's gud but ya know it has a 'Moorish' taste."

(The two photos show lefse being mixed and then baked over open coals.)

Next up, we have Matt Gumm of Still Reforming, who is taking a blogging break, but not before he posts on the joy of potato chips. Potato chips, it seems, are another form of potato manna.

To end the party, we have Juanita of Jam and Books, who has a recipe for Oven Fries and a couple of mashed potato tips. (I wonder if she carves her turkey with a chain saw.)

Thanks you all for participating and making Potatofest so much fun!

And that wraps it up. There's nothing left to do but take down the decorations.

By Christ Alone

In case you haven't heard, today, October 31, is Reformation Day. It's the anniversary of the day in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, and a day for Protestants to remember the Reformation. I'm going to mark the day by posting a reflection on one of the slogans of the Reformation: Solus Christus, or by Christ alone. This little phrase refers to the truth that our salvation is accomplished by Christ's work and nothing else. It only seems right--doesn't it?--that I should ground this reflection in scripture, since another of the slogans of the Reformation is Sola Scriptura, which points to the supreme authority of scripture in the life of the church and the life of the believer.
Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help. (Hebrews 4:14-16 NET)
This bit of scripture tells us that believers have direct access to God, for not only is there is no longer a barrier that keeps us from approaching him, there is a conduit for us to approach him through. This place of bold standing before God and free approach to him comes to us through the work of Christ: through his historical reconciling work on the cross; and, presently, through his continued mediatorial work in heaven.

Our bold standing and confident approach has everything to do with the unique nature of our high priest. He is the only one who has all the characteristics required to give us direct access to God. No one else can fill the bill, for he is the only one perfectly suited for the job. It's his perfect suitablity--his complete ability--that warrants our boldness before God.

First of all, our high priest has passed through the heavens. You won't find him in a subordinate area of heaven; rather, he is right up there in the highest heaven next to God. As God's own Son, he has a greatness equal to God's, so there is no barrier of inferiority. He is in God's immediate presence, sitting at God's right hand. You might say that he has God's ear in an immediate and direct way that no one else has ever had.

And that's not all. Not only does our high priest have completely unhindered access to God, but he is also completely one with us in our weakness. He is not representing us before God as one who can only imagine what things are like for us, who can only contemplate from afar what it is to be who we are. No, he has been one of us! He came where we are and experienced what we experience.

Even his temptations were like ours. No matter what temptation troubles me or what trial taunts me, he can understand, for he has experienced similar temptation in a deeper way than I have, since he always stood firm in the face of it. He knows the full force of all the kinds of temptations common to humankind, not just the piddling part that a sinner who gives way to a temptation knows.

It is these two things that make him the one perfect high priest: he represents us as one of us, and he has direct access to God. It is because of who he is and what he's done that the way to the throne is open for us. Moreover, it is on the grounds of what he's done that the throne is indeed a throne of grace--that what is dispensed there for us is mercy and grace.

So let us come boldly. If we come hesitantly or timidly, perhaps it is because we don't fully grasp who Jesus the Son of God is and what he has accomplished. If we are apprehensive to draw near, we are ignoring, in a way, some of who Christ is and what he accomplished. It's not bravado that brings us near, for the reasons we can come confidently are strong ones--the best ones--all centered in Christ and his work. It glorifies Christ when we use freely the access that he, in his uniqueness, has opened for us.

It's because of the unique nature of our high priest that we ought to hold fast to our confession. The writer of Hebrews is writing, at least in part, to faithful Jews who had moved forward to embrace Christ as the fulfillment of God's promises to them. They were tempted to go back to the old system with its lesser priests and sacrifices, but the writer warns them that to do so would be letting go of their confession of the perfect Priest and Sacrifice. Christ accomplished it all--once for all time--something no one else could do. He needs no help from anyone or anything, and to the extent that we do not confidently rest in him and his work alone, we are not holding fast to our confession.

Holding on to our confession, then, means grasping tightly to the work of the one-of-a-kind perfect human and complete God, and not looking back to other helps or go-betweens. Or maybe you prefer to call it resting in Jesus, which is, in a wonderfully counterintuitive, paradoxical sort of way, exactly the same thing as grasping tightly to him. Christ is all we need. We can rest in him alone; we can cling to him alone.

Just as it was for the first hearers and readers of the book of Hebrews, so, too, for us: the key to our continued standing in the faith lies in our true understanding of the extent of Christ's perfection for his office and the completeness of the adequacy in his work. We come boldly to the throne through the one and only mediator, the one and only high priest, the one and only way to God's ear whenever we need help. So we bow at the Name of the One who became, for a little while, lower than the angels in order that he might bring us directly into God's presence.

More Reformation Day reflections can be found in the Reformation Day Symposium at Challies.com.

The (NET) Bible is available as a free download at http://www.bible.org.



Monday, October 30

Round the Sphere Again

Cooperative Ventures
  • Last week's Christian Carnival is posted at Participatory Bible Study Blog.

  • Don't forget that Tuesday is Reformation Day, and Tim Challies will be hosting a Reformation Day Symposium.
    In recognition of the significance of this day, I would like to suggest that Christian bloggers mark October 31 with reflections on Reformation Day. You may want to reflect on a person, an event, or a particular point of theology. The topic is wide open, so long as it somehow ties in to Reformation Day. And remember, you do not need to be Reformed to appreciate the Reformation and all it stood for. If you do not have a blog of your own, but would still like to participate, why not ask another blogger if you can "guest" on his site that day (which is not to say that I am offering my blog for this purpose!).

    I will gladly allow my site to serve as a repository for whatever links are provided to me. So, if you write an article, send me the link on October 31 and I will list it on my site.

    Check out the link above for all of the glorious details. (There be a prize!)

  • Tomorrow is also the last day of October and the day of the last Potatofest post. I already have a couple of contibuted things lined up for that post, but if you post something and draw my attention to it before 8AM PDT tomorrow, you'll still be included in Potatofest. So if you have something you're wanting to contribute, here's notice that the deadline is fast approaching.
Comedy Club
Story Time
  • You've heard the story.
    Young William Carey . . . spoke at a Minister's Fraternal meeting about seeking to convert the heathen in India and other places to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
    John Ryland, Sr.'s much quoted response goes something like this:
    Young man, sit down! You are an enthusiast. When God pleases to convert the heathens, he will do it without your help or mine.
    You'll find this quote used to argue that real Calvinists don't believe in missions. Colin Maxwell examines the circumstances of the story and tell us why it doesn't really work to prove what those who use it want it to prove.

  • My old friend Bob tells one of the saddest stories I've read lately.

Bible Study

Sunday, October 29

Sunday's Hymn: John Newton

I Asked The Lord That I Might Grow

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”
---Music by Herbert S. Oakeley (Listen.)
Other hymns, worship songs, etc. posted this Sunday
Have you posted a hymn this Sunday and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by emailing me at the address in the sidebar, and I'll add your post to the list.

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Saturday, October 28

Saturday's Old Photo

I am declaring--I love declaring things; have you noticed?--that every Saturday is Old Photo Day on this blog. (I love old photos, too; you may have noticed that, as well). Oldest son has been busy scanning and cleaning up some old photos and I might as well make use of them. A nice bonus to this plan is that I'll be able to post something even when I have a busy Saturday, as I often do.

Usually, I'll tell you something about the photo--maybe even a little story about it--but with today's photo, I'm letting you tell me. Put on your detective hat, get out your magnifying glass (Efficient folk will just click for the larger view.) and figure this mystery out.

Where was this photo it taken?

When was this photo taken?

Who is this person?

What is this person doing?

Update: Some of the questions have been answered. The person is me, the time is the summer of 1967 or some year thereabouts. (Check the comments to find out who guessed these things correctly.) No one has pinpointed where the photo was taken or what I was doing. The key is the where of the photo. Once the where is known, the what becomes obvious. I'm not asking the impossible, by the way. Someone will know this place, I'm sure. In fact, if some of the people who have already guessed would pull their thinking caps down a little farther, they would probably come up with the right place.

Update 2: Time for two hints:
  1. If you googled for images of this location, you'd get pages and pages of photos of people doing exactly the same thing I am in this photo.
  2. The person who gathered the main source material for Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha was at this spot in 1832.
Update 3: Jeremy Pierce correctly identified the place as the source of the Mississippi River. That's the spot where the the stream that becomes the river flows out of Lake Itaska in Itaska State Park. The person credited with discovering where the Mississippi starts is Henry Schoolcraft in 1832.

Almost everyone who visits here walks across, either on the rocks or wading through the water, just so they can say they walked across the Mississippi River.



Friday, October 27

Potatofest 2006: Pickles and Potato Heads

Here's how I make potato salad, although I usually double this recipe, since some of us really like potato salad.
Dill Pickle Potato Salad
  • 8 medium potatoes
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 medium dill pickles, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup dill pickle juice
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer potatoes for 20-30 minutes until tender. Drain and cool.

2. Peel and cube potatoes, and place them in a large bowl.

3. Peel eggs and remove yolks. Place yolks in a small bowl; chop and add to potatoes along with celery, onions and pickles.

4. Mash yolks with a fork and add mayonaise, pickle juice, mustard, celery seed, salt and pepper. Combine with a small wire wisk or fork.

5. Pour over potato mixture; mix well.

6. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Check out Carla Lynne's potato post. She's posted a picture of her son with his potato self-portrait, along with a couple of potato recipes--one for potato soup, and one for potato and carrot kugel.

You, too, can contribute to Potatofest, but you only have a few days left. See details here.

Thursday, October 26

Sunday School with J. I. Packer, Part 2

This post is a continuation of the notes from the first session of The Internal Unity of Scripture with J. I. Packer from the Learner's Exchange of St. John's (Shaughnessy).

Helps, Resources, Methods for Coming to an Understanding of the Internal Unity of Scripture. J. I. Packer's suggested method for beginning to understand the "the Bible from the inside with all it’s links and connections" is to read through the Bible in one year.
I don’t mind how you do it, but I am anxious, friends, that we, all of us, should do it. You should decide how you’re going to do it, but I cannot commend those who don’t do it. We need to read scripture daily. As I say, we need to read it in a way that will get us through the Bible every year, and then go back to the beginning and read it again. We need to soak ourselves in what we are reading.
Some plans for reading the Bible in a year:
  • The One Year Bible. You can get The One Year Bible in at least three versions. J. I. Packer himself uses the NLT version of it, but it comes in the NIV and the ESV as well. This is the pattern of reading the scripture through in one year that he recommends most.
    . . . The One-Year Bible goes through the Old Testament broken up into appropriate units for the 365 days of the year. It takes you through the New Testament in shorter parts--again, the New Testament is broken up into 365 days of the year. It take you through the Psalter twice--all 150 psalms: the first journey, January through June; and the second journey, July through December. . . . [I]t also breaks up the book of Proverbs into very small units, so that you have a bit of Proverbs to read on all of the 365 days. Sometimes it’s only one verse. . . . [Y]ou have these four strands of scripture and you read them together. They have obviously been very carefully put together and you will find yourself amazed, I think, if you follow this method of Bible reading, at how the four passages, again and again link up with all kinds of illuminating insights.
  • Robert Murray McCheyne's Calendar for Reading through the Word of God in a Year. (There is a revised version of this plan done by Donald Carson, published in two volumes: For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God's Word, and For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Treasures of God's Word.)
    There was an older way of reading through the Bible in a year, produced by the 19th century Scotsman [Robert] Murray McCheyne, and you may be acquainted with that. It’s been going for longer than The One-Year Bible pattern. McCheyne gives you four chapters of scripture to read (or something like a chapter) each time round, for reading all the way through the Bible in a single year, and, well, it’s good. I think The One-Year Bible is better, frankly. . . . I don’t want to discourage you from the McCheyne version, but I do want to recommend the One Year Bible pattern along side it.
  • The Lectionary of The Anglican Prayer Book. (You'll find a PDF version of the Lectionary here. Scroll down; it's the third item under Table of Contents: "Concerning the Service of the Church, including the use of the Psalter, and the Order how the rest the Holy Scripture is appointed to be read ix (1928 Version)")
Three questions to ask after reading the scripture:
  1. What does this passage (or what do these passages) tell me about God--his works and his ways, and his nature and his holiness, and his love and so on?
  2. What do these passages show me about life--people practicing godliness, people practicing ungodliness, people getting it right, people getting it wrong?
  3. Having answered those two questions to the best of my ability, what then have these passages to say to me to guide me in the living of my life today?
A Bird's Eye View of the Old Testament. (The purpose of this section is to show how the Old Testament points forward to the New Testament.)

An outline of the historical sections of the Old Testament:
  1. Era of Disruption
    Genesis 1 and 2: Creation and Goodness
    Genesis 3-11: Sin and Judgment
  2. Era of Hope
    Genesis 12-50: Choice and Covenant
    . . .[T]he exodus from slavery in Egypt and the ordering of national life to be lived in the promised land, with morality, piety, liturgy, and faithful worship--faithful and obedient worship as the life-style of Israel, God’s family.
    Exodus-Deuteronomy: Rescue and Re-formation
  3. Era of Failure
    Joshua, Judges and Ruth: Lack of Leadership
    Samuels-Chronicals: Triumph and Tragedy of the Monarchy
    Ezra-Nehemiah: Return and Restoration
How the other sections of the Old Testament fit with the historical sections:
The other books of the Old Testament are like so many ribs attached to the backbone at the appropriate place.
  • The Prophets
    fit into the historical story. You need to know just where they fit in in date terms. . . .[W]hat they’re . . . doing is recalling God’s people to holiness and hope, warning folk that if they fail to practice righteousness, they’ll miss God’s blessing, and holding out anticipations of a kingdom and a reality of shalom going beyond anything that they’ve known thus far.
  • The Wisdom Literature
    Job: Patience
    Proberbs and Ecclesiates: Prudence
    Psalms: Path of Prayer and Praise
    Song of Soloman: Pleasure in One’s Privilege
Summing up this bird's eye view of the Old Testament:
All through, as you can now see, God is nurturing his covenant people, Abraham’s family, for a destiny. A destiny [that] is related to the practice of holiness, the life of obedient faith and hope and worship.
More suggested reading to help in understanding the Bible (Given in answer to a question after the lesson was over):Next week, I'll post notes on the second lecture in this series.

Wednesday, October 25

Potatofest 2006: It's All a Spud Sham

Potato heads in costume and a couple of masquerading recipes:

Love faux? Then Candyinsierras has the recipe for you.

Kim from Hiraeth serves up some Mock Pieroghis.

Why don't you contribute something to Potatofest before month's end and the unfortunate end of Potatofest? Everyone has something to say about potatoes, don't they? Post something potato related on your blog
  • a potato recipe
  • a potato photo
  • a potato joke
  • a quote about potatoes
  • a story about potatoes
  • a tip for a unique way to use potatoes
  • a piece of potato art
  • a potato quiz
you name it--if it's about potatoes, it belongs at Potatofest
and leave the link in the comments or email it to me. I'll link to your potato link (or links) sometime during the month of Potatofest . If you don't have a blog, or feel you don't want to clutter up your blog with potato drivel, then leave your recipe, joke--you name it--in the comments and I'll work it into a post sometime during the month. Somewhere, somehow, I'll even include things as simple as a comment on your favorite way to eat potatoes, or your favorite variety of potatoes.

Sunday School with J. I. Packer, Part 1

My Bible study group is listening to three Sunday School lessons given by J. I. Packer at St John's (Shaughnessy) Anglican Church. The subject of the lessons is The Internal Unity of Scripture. You'll find the audio to the lessons at the download center linked above. (I know it says they are part of the Learner's Exchange, but I've been told calling it that is just a trick to fool the adults who think Sunday School is for children only.)

Here are a few notes from the lesson, along with relevent quotes from it. The quotes are transcribed from the audio, so don't expect the text to be as grammatically perfect as if it were written and edited text. Usually, the ellipses in the quotes are used because a parenthetical phrase has been left out in the interest of conciseness. J. I. Packer uses many parentheticals when he speaks.

Some ideas from historical Christians on how one might see the Bible as a whole:
  • William Tyndale
    . . did you know that William Tyndale, first significant translator of the Bible into English, lived in the 1520s, wrote about the way to understand the text once you had it, and said that in the Bible there were two things to look for? . . . There's the law, which sets God's standards, and tells us of his holiness and of our sinfulness, which are things that we need to know about; there are promises which tell us of God's saving grace in Christ, which, again, we most certainly need to know about; and there are examples--we would say biographies--any number of Bible biographies constituting examples of the life of faith--what it means and what it leads to--and the life of unbelief and disobedience, and what that leads to. "Look for the law, the promises, and the examples," said Tyndale, "and you will find yourself taken straight away to the heart of all the scriptures." I wonder if we've ever got it as clear as that?
  • John Owen
    In the book titled Causes, Ways, and Means of Understanding the Mind of God in His Word, Owen raises the question: Wouldn't it have been more straightforward if God had given us, instead of these 66 books of spiritual all-sorts, a systematic theology textbook? (His words mean that, although that isn't the phraseology that he uses.) And his answer to his own question is, no, it wouldn't have been an improvement on the wide range of spiritual all-sorts that we that we have in the Bible. There is so much more that we can learn from the histories, the biographies, the narratives, the interactions between messengers of God and . . . folk who listened and folk who didn't, and all these things that are recorded for us in scripture. From going through these narratives we learn a great deal more than we would ever learn from a systematic theology textbook which simply taught us the verbal form of orthodox faith, which we must defend against it's critics. What you have in the Bible is a portrayal, from every standpoint, of spiritual life and spiritual death, and these are the things which we need to understand, and given the form in which we have it, the Bible is the ideal and supremely truthful source of that kind of learning and that sort of wisdom.
  • Augustine
    "The New Testament in the Old is concealed, and the Old Testament in the New is revealed." That is to say, the Old Testament really does point forward to the New Testament, and the New Testament really does give you the clue to understanding the Old Testament at deepest level, and the two bodies of material--Old and New Testament together--constitute the total, single, united, coherent revelation of God.

Themes that run throughout Bible:
  • God (the central theme)
    The central theme of both Old and New Testament is God--God in action. God in action as Creator, and as the God of providence, and as the God of grace; and God revealed in all of this . . . as being holy.
  • The kingdom
    The first thought, often expressed in scripture, both Testaments, is that God is already a king over his own creation in the sense that he is the sovereign Lord and nothing happens in his world apart from his will. He overrules everything. That's the kingship of God, the sovereignty of God, which is a given in all one's thinking about God's action. But the kingdom thought is that, one day, God is going to express his kingship by establishing a kingdom in which his will is done, his moral idea is acknowledged, and indeed embraced, and a condition of shalom. . . .
    But the second thing, and of course as I say these things, your minds run immediately to the Christian claim that the Lord Jesus is the king in this kingdom, and that the kingdom of God, as foretold all through the Old Testament, is now revealed as the kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of sinners.
  • Covenant
    What is a covenant? Well, it's a Bible word, and what it means in the Bible . . . is something that we have to discover simply by doing an induction from the places where it's used and the things that are said about the covenant. There's a great deal, actually, said about the covenant in scripture. In the ordinary secular world, covenants are ordinarily matters of negotiated agreements. . . . But in the Bible, the covenant is a royal covenant and a conqueror's covenant. It's an imposed relationship, which a king, who is acknowledged as conqueror and lord, imposes on those who are from now on his subjects. The king is envisioned as a benevolent monarch. The covenant brings great benefit to those on whom it is imposed--those to whom it is given. It's an enormous privilege in itself to have the king commit himself to you in the way that his covenant says that he does commit himself to you; but he commits himself to you as your lord, and you commit yourself to him as his subject.

    In the ancient world, royal covenants imposed on conquered nations were of quite frequent occurrence. It's a bit out of our world of thought, but that's the analogy for the covenant of God in scripture. That's the way we're to think of it. Covenant actually runs all the way through scripture--both testaments--as a slogan. And the slogan is, "I will be your God; you shall be my people," which is both a proclamation of sovereignty and of grace. . . .

    . . . in the Old Testament, it's already made clear that the covenant of God with the seed of Abram, with Abram's family, which has become a nation, is a relationship shaped by the divine promise: I will be your God--your God to bless you, watch over you, lead you, guide you, and develop your ongoing life history into something more glorious than you have seen at the moment. And under God's covenant, Israel appears as a community of faith, and when you get to the New Testament, it's the disciples of Jesus Christ who are seen as the continuation of that community of faith.
  • Christ
    [Christ is] anticipated in the Old Testament as the Davidic king, great David's greater son who is coming; and is proclaimed in the New Testament as the Davidic king who has come, and acknowledged within the frame of his kingship as the Saviour, and as God incarnate, and . . . as the prophet, priest and king--the threefold office of his ministry as the mediator of God's covenant.
  • Holy living
    . . . another theme which goes with all of these, and is so basic and so pervasive throughout the scripture that scholars often omit to mention it (You know, some things are too big to be seen!), but the fifth theme, which. . . runs through the whole of the Bible is the theme of God's people practicing godliness: the theme, that is, of holy living in communion with God.
I'll finish up the notes from the first lesson in a post tomorrow.

New Email Address

I have a new email address, so in order to contact me, you'll want to click on the button in the sidebar instead of using the old address you may have used before. If I correspond with you regularly, you'll be getting notice of address change before long. The old address will be up and running for a bit in order to transition things, but don't count on it being there for too long.

Special note to local yokels that's related (sort of): If you live in Whitehorse, have a broadband connection, and you haven't switched over to Navigo, you might want to consider it. I know you think the connection you have is fast, but with Navigo the pages pop up instantaneously. It also--so far, and after a couple of weeks--seems more consistently reliable than the landline broadband, not to mention that you can carry your Navigo modem with you and have web access wherever there's an electrical outlet. It's probably cheaper to boot, if you go the two year contract route.

I haven't recommended switching before this because there was a nasty little glitch: Navigo's email system wasn't up yet. But that problem's been righted, so there's nothing to stand in the way of my endorsement.

I've also heard from rather official sources that there are places in Riverdale with signal problems, so you might want to check that out before you sign the two year contract. If you live above the airport, however, you are a straight shot from the signal, and the connection is superfast and reliable.

Tuesday, October 24

Potatofest: The Literary Edition

A little potato poetry by Thomas Moore, the bard of Ireland.
The Potato
I'm a careless potato and care not a pin
How into existence I came;
If they planted me drill-wise or dribbled me in,
To me 'tis exactly the same.
The bean and the pea may more loftily tower,
But I care not a button for them;
Defiance I not with my beautiful flower
When the earth is hoed up to my stem.
And don't miss Sherry of Semicolon's wonderful post on the potato in children's books and more, including potato quotes, potato links and potato news. So, while we're on the subject, when is the International Year of the Potato? Don't know? Sherry's post will clue you in.

Why don't you contribute something to Potatofest before month's end and the unfortunate end of Potatofest? Everyone has something to say about potatoes, don't they? Post something potato related on your blog
  • a potato recipe
  • a potato photo
  • a potato joke
  • a quote about potatoes
  • a story about potatoes
  • a tip for a unique way to use potatoes
  • a piece of potato art
  • a potato quiz
  • you name it--if it's about potatoes, it belongs at Potatofest
and leave the link in the comments or email it to me. I'll link to your potato link (or links) sometime during the month of Potatofest. If you don't have a blog, or feel you don't want to clutter up your blog with potato drivel, then leave your recipe, joke--you name it--in the comments and I'll work it into a post sometime during the month. Somewhere, somehow, I'll even include things as simple as a comment on your favorite way to eat potatoes, or your favorite variety of potatoes.

Monday, October 23

Potatofest 2006: The Drive By Edition

This is one day I'm really glad others are participating, because I'm busy with other things. So what's on the menu?

Sunday, October 22

Church History

My husband's father was in the Yukon long before we were. During the construction of the Alaska Highway, he left his wife and a couple of kids behind (Hubby wasn't born yet!) and came way up here for nine months to work construction while the road to Alaska was built. I'd always assumed he's worked in road construction, since he had a construction company with road building equipment, but hubby corrected me several years ago. His dad had done plumbing--his real trade--while he was up here. I asked hubby where he'd done plumbing, and he thought he'd plumbed the new highway camps built as the road went through.

Framed and mounted in the dining room, we have a postcard that my husband's father (Albin Stark) sent to his own mother (my husband's grandmother) while he was here. On the front is a photo of the little Anglican church in Carcross, which is a village 50 miles or so south of Whitehorse. On the back is a message to his mom.

My husband's father died when he was only 49 and my husband was only 11. I think part of the incentive for my husband taking the teaching job up here was that he would, in a small way, be following in his father's footsteps.* When the sons and I made a trip to Carcross recently, youngest son said, "It's weird to think that Grandpa Stark was once here."

I don't think Carcross has changed a whole lot since Grandpa was there, either. Here's a photo, taken by oldest son, of the same little church as it looks today. (You can click on the picture for the larger view.) It looks much the same as it did in 1943, except there is an electrical line to the church, a light over the door, and no bell in the steeple. There's also a boardwalk to the church in the old photo that isn't there on the new one. We had a family discussion about whether the windows are newer additions, and we think they are, but we can't be sure.

This church was built in 1904, but was located on the other side of the narrows and moved across the narrows on a scow several years later. It is still in use today, with services on the first and third Sundays of every month.

You can see more photos and read a little more about the village of Carcross here. It is truly one of the historical gems of the north, and it's location is breathtaking.

Oldest son has more photos from Carcross, too:
Update: Here's a pdf with a walking tour of the historic Carcross buildings, including this church and the Arne Ormen cabin mentioned by Judy in the comments.

*Hubby followed his father's footsteps in another way. He died of the same sort of cancer--it's hard to be sure, since details on his father's cancer are sketchy--one week after his 53rd birthday, leaving a young son who had just turned 13.



Sunday's Hymn: John Newton

How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the troubled breast;
’Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary, rest.

Dear Name, the Rock on which I build,
My Shield and Hiding Place,
My never failing treasury, filled
With boundless stores of grace!

By Thee my prayers acceptance gain,
Although with sin defiled;
Satan accuses me in vain,
And I am owned a child.

Jesus! my Shepherd, Husband, Friend,
O Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
Accept the praise I bring.

Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I’ll praise Thee as I ought.

Till then I would Thy love proclaim
With every fleeting breath,
And may the music of Thy Name
Refresh my soul in death!

---Music by Alexander Reinagle (Listen here or try the demo in the RUF Hymnbook for something a little different.)

Other hymns, worship songs, etc. posted this Sunday
Have you posted a hymn this Sunday and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by emailing me at the address in the sidebar, and I'll add your post to the list.

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Saturday, October 21

Potatofest 2006: Vacation Breakfasts and the Hard Labour of Harvest

First up in this weekend's edition of Potatofest, we have a recipe from Kim of Hireath for DYI “Cook Shanty” Fried Potatoes. And while your potatoes bake, why not take my potato poll?

Have you ever thought about the vocabulary of the potato harvest? There are several commonly used terms to describe what we do when we take the mature potatoes from the soil. I've always said I'm digging potatoes (and I'm not alone in describing it this way), but more commonly, I think, it's called picking potatoes.

I'm guessing this last term is used mostly when the potatoes are collected after some sort of machinery has already turned the soil over, when the term digging wouldn't quite describe what's being done. When I was in elementary school, some of the children made quite a bit of money picking potatoes, and it seems it's labour children have done down through the ages. (Mark Knopfler, by the way, has a song called Picking Potatoes that's part of the sound track to the movie Cal. You can hear a bit of it here. It's got a nice Irish sound to go with the potato theme.)

Van Gogh, if you remember, called it lifting potatoes, as in Peasants Lifting Potatoes and Woman Lifting Potatoes, which is the picture at the top left. (You can click on the photo for the larger view, and it's worth it to do that.) To tell you the truth, lifting potatoes doesn't seem to be a term that is commonly used in the English language nowadays, although my dictionary does give this definition for lift: to take up (as a root crop...) from the ground.

When I harvest my carrots, I say that I pull them, and some people use the word pull to describe how they harvest potatoes as well. Here's a photo of children pulling potatoes.

And of course, there's always the more general term: harvesting potatoes. This term seems to be used more often when big farm machinery is used.

Now it's your turn. Take this potato pickin' poll, and we'll all find out a little about the potato harvesting vocabulary of the readers here.

What do you call taking mature potatoes from the ground?
lifting potatoes
pulling potatoes
digging potatoes
picking potatoes
harvesting potatoes
other, and I'll leave my answer in the comments
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Why don't you contribute something to Potatofest? Everyone has something to say about potatoes, don't they? Post something potato related on your blog
  • a potato recipe
  • a potato photo
  • a potato joke
  • a quote about potatoes
  • a story about potatoes
  • a tip for a unique way to use potatoes
  • a piece of potato art
  • a potato quiz
  • you name it--if it's about potatoes, it belongs at Potatofest
and leave the link in the comments or email it to me. I'll link to your potato link (or links) sometime during the month of Potatofest. If you don't have a blog, or feel you don't want to clutter up your blog with potato drivel, then leave your recipe, joke--you name it--in the comments and I'll work it into a post sometime during the month. Somewhere, somehow, I'll even include things as simple as a comment on your favorite way to eat potatoes, or your favorite variety of potatoes.

How doth Christ execute the office of a king?

Christ executeth the office of a king, in calling out of the world a people to himself,[1] and giving them officers,[2] laws,[3] and censures, by which he visibly governs them;[4] in bestowing saving grace upon his elect,[5] rewarding their obedience,[6] and correcting them for their sins,[7] preserving and supporting them under all their temptations and sufferings,[8] restraining and overcoming all their enemies,[9] and powerfully ordering all things for his own glory,[10] and their good;[11] and also in taking vengeance on the rest, who know not God, and obey not the gospel.[12]
  1. Acts 15:14-16
    Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,

    “‘After this I will return,
    and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
    I will rebuild its ruins,
    and I will restore it . . . '"

    Isa. 4:4-5
    . . . when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy.
    Gen. 49:10
    The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
    until tribute comes to him;
    and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
    Psa. 110:3
    Your people will offer themselves freely
    on the day of your power,
    in holy garments;
    from the womb of the morning,
    the dew of your youth will be yours.
  2. Eph. 4:11-12
    And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ . . .
    I Cor. 12:28
    And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.
  3. Isa. 33:22
    For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver;
    the Lord is our king; he will save us.
  4. Matt. 18:17-18
    If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
    I Cor. 5:4-5
    When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
  5. Acts 5:31
    God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
  6. Rev. 2:10
    Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
    Rev. 22:12
    Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.
  7. Rev. 3:19
    Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
  8. Isa. 63:9
    In all their affliction he was afflicted,
    and the angel of his presence saved them;
    in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
    he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.
  9. I Cor. 15:25
    For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
    Psa. 110:1-2
    The Lord says to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand,
    until I make your enemies your footstool.”

    The Lord sends forth from Zion
    your mighty scepter.
    Rule in the midst of your enemies!

  10. Rom. 14:10-11
    Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,

    “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
    and every tongue shall confess to God.”

  11. Rom. 8:28
    And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
  12. II Thess. 1:8-9
    . . . in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might . . .
    Psa. 2:8-9
    Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
    and the ends of the earth your possession.
    You shall break them with a rod of iron
    and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
Question 45, Westminster Larger Catechism.

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