These are pictures that I took in Alicante, Spain in late September.
These are pictures that I took in Alicante, Spain in late September.
These are pictures of Barcelona, Spain that I took during our visit in late September. No filters or flash were used.
Yesterday, I had an opportunity to be an “extra” at a movie shoot (I’m not sure if I am legally allowed to divulge the title so I won’t mention it). I had envisioned what it would be like to be on a movie set—somewhat “glamorous” and maybe a chance to talk briefly with a “star” or at least take a distant photo of them, but it was nothing like I had imagined.
I knew ahead of time the outfit I needed so I made sure I had it—long black gown, glittery jewelry, a small black purse, and dress shoes (I was supposed to be an attendee at a black-tie event). After the costume director looked at my outfit and approved it, I then headed to hair and makeup. I had arrived with an “up-do” but the hair person changed it into a wide bun on the back of head—not the kind of hairstyle I would normally wear; in fact, it kind of reminded me of Evita’s hairstyle (http://www.panam.ru/main/argentina/info/1.html), except I had bangs.
From there I was escorted to the “Holding” area—a large room with chairs. This is where I waited for almost two hours.
Finally, we were brought onto the set—a banquet hall. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures of the set. We were there for several hours as they repeatedly filmed the five minute scene from various angles. Finally, the majority of us, the “Background,” were told to go back to holding. After about an hour we were given “Lunch”—that was around 4 pm.
I noticed that there was a different meal for the crew—they used real utensils and they had steamed broccoli and other fresh foods. Meanwhile, “Background” was given food that appeared to have been frozen or from #10 cans— for example, corn, round-shaped meat with bottled BBQ sauce poured over it, chocolate pudding, etc. The rolls looked good, but were stale.
After “lunch,” we went back to holding then shortly afterwards we were escorted back onto the set. This was a different 5 minute scene, but it seemed to last an eternity due to all the retakes. The leading actor laughed during one of the takes and they had to re-shoot, but he laughed again. I probably would have thought it was funny, but it was past 9 pm at that point and I just wanted to get out of there. Finally, by 9:30 pm I was released from the set.
I don’t think this is something I would want to do again, at least not as a “Background” member. After spending over 12 hours there, I was only paid $64 (base pay, before taxes) and I’m not even going to be seen in the movie. I can’t get back the day that I lost, but at least I can cross this activity off my bucket list…
One of the illustrations my son shared in the sermon yesterday was when he was three-years-old and his grandmother jumped into the pool, fully clothed, to save him as he was drowning (https://youtu.be/UyWzb1iBP3I).
It made me think of the time when my children and I were stuck in Daytona Beach during a flash flood. I remember that it started to rain and all of a sudden Ridgewood Avenue was filled with about two feet of water. The minivan I was driving stopped working and I called my husband to help us. A few minutes later, my door opens and my mother-in-law is standing in rapid flowing water with her arm stretched out to help us out of the van. I couldn’t believe she was there!
I remembered some of the other times she was there to help us— like the time when I was in labor with my first child but my husband and I didn’t know I was in labor (I thought they were just very painful Braxton Hicks contractions). My mother-in-law woke up before dawn to drive over a half hour to our apartment just so she could lay a hand on my belly and say, “She’s in labor.”
Sometimes we forget or neglect to show our appreciation for people. Today, I am showing my appreciation for my mother-in-law. Thank you for everything you do, Mom! Love you!
Mom is pictured with two of my four children: my son who talked about her in his sermon, and my oldest child.
I made seitan today for the first time. I was a little apprehensive about it since I read how difficult it can be. One of the things I did to make the process easier was to purchase a bag of wheat gluten. As I read recipe on this website, http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/homemade-seitan/, I discovered that I also needed nutritional yeast (I had no idea what that was until I “googled” it).
Per instructions on the website, I combined all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and then I added the liquid—vegetable broth and some soy sauce.
I mix everything with a large spoon and noticed there were dry spots so I added a little more broth. I kneaded it for a couple minutes then separated the batch. I should mention that I doubled the ingredients because I didn’t think two cups of wheat gluten would be enough—I was wrong.
The rounded portions of dough were placed in a pan of vegetable broth and pre-made pot roast sauce.
I was supposed to wait until the liquid had boiled before adding the dough, but I didn’t think it would be a problem. Once the contents of the pan were boiling, I lowered the temperature and waited for the dough to cook, turning it over periodically for an hour.
After cooling it down for about 15 minutes, I sliced some of the cooked dough and added it to the gravy I made. Surprisingly, it looked like meat.
Although the texture was a little like an overcooked roast and it didn’t really taste like meat, it was still good. As long as I told myself that this wasn’t meat and not to expect it to taste like meat then the seitan was tolerable and almost enjoyable.
I think I’ll make it again, but this time I won’t cook it in the pre-made pot roast sauce, and I’ll try kneading it a little more.
I usually take pictures with a Nikon D3300, 18-140 Nikkor lens; but today I forgot my camera. I had my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and noticed that it had a “Pro” setting for the camera, so I set it to take “Vivid” pictures. Some of the pictures were blurry– not sure if it was “user error” or if it was the camera feature. I did manage to take a few that were decent at my granddaughter’s birthday party.
Overall, I’m happy with the images.
As I mentioned in a previous post, there is a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the printing of the first ever African Study Bible (ASB). I reviewed part of the Bible and there are a lot of features that I really like about it. For example, in the “Overview and Story” at the beginning of Genesis, an African proverb is used: “If you do not know where you came from, you will not know where you are going.” This was a fitting way to start the first book of the Bible.
As I went through the Book of Genesis, I noticed that although the ASB was written specifically for Africans, it is also written for people who want to understand African culture. For instance, in the Creation account, there is a footnote describing various African stories of Creation. One was of “Käng,” the “Great master and Lord of all” who created everything.
The “Proverbs & Stories” linked African sayings with passages from the Bible and there are applications to African culture or traditions interspersed. I really liked that the ASB gave me insights to the African culture. I think an anthropologist would appreciate having an African Study Bible because it illustrates several practices found in the Old Testament that are similar to African practices of today. The ASB would also benefit missionaries who are planning on going to Africa, or to anyone who wants to have a different approach in reading the Bible.
Please consider contributing: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1816907898/launching-the-africa-study-bible. Contributors to the Kickstarter campaign have the opportunity to receive incentives ranging from artwork prints to limited Italian leather editions of the ASB as well as all-expense paid trips to the launch of the ASB in the United States and in Africa!
I have the privilege of sharing exciting news about a Kickstarter campaign by Oasis International to produce the first ever African Study Bible (ASB).
What makes the Bible different? The ASB was developed by Africans for Africans— written by African theologians, pastors and leaders from 50 countries in Africa. The ASB was designed to grow the faith of African church members, teach them to evangelize their communities, and apply a biblical worldview to their society. Dr. John Jusu, the supervising editor, proclaims, “The content of the ASB is bubbling up from the cultures of Africa. The biblical truth is percolating through our own cultures and stories to create a rich and textured tapestry that Africans can claim as their own.”
The goal of the Kickstarter campaign, which runs from April 18 to June 16, is to raise one million dollars to print the first 100,000 copies in an effort to get this culturally relevant Bible to Christians in Africa who lack access to affordable Bibles—more information can be found on these links: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1816907898/launching-the-africa-study-bible and https://youtu.be/n19KGrEgMso
Contributors to the Kickstarter campaign have the opportunity to receive incentives ranging from artwork prints to limited Italian leather editions of the ASB as well as all-expense paid trips to the launch of the ASB in the United States and in Africa!
Last year my running had dwindled down because we bought a duplex then we had to fix it, and then clean and clear the other house so that we could downsize; on top of that I still had to work. I had to give up something so I cut down on my running. Every once in a while I ran a 10K, but mostly I ran a couple of miles or ran an occasional 5K.
This year, I decided to start running again. It was hard. I struggled to run a couple of miles. I felt like giving up and using the time to do other things, but I persevered. Today I ran 12 miles. It wasn’t a fast time, but my time didn’t really matter; what mattered was that I didn’t give up.
I think it’s the same way with our Christian walk. Sometimes things come up in our lives and we feel like we have to give up something so we give up church. Then we get used to staying in bed on Sunday mornings and doing other things with the time that used to be spent in going to church.
It’s hard to go back to church after being away for several months or several years, but we start by going to one worship service. Then the following week, we go to another worship service; and even though we might feel like staying at home, we have to get up and go to church.
Why go to church? We go to church because we need to be encouraged by other believers; we need to know that we are not alone in our struggles. Also, as a believer and follower of Christ, we are all a part of His body and a body cannot function if some part of it is missing—we all need each other (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
So if you have been away from the church for a while, then my encouragement to you is to start going. Let this Sunday be the first of many Sundays to come! Remember that our Christian life is like a race— it doesn’t matter how fast you run, all that matters is that you stay in the race and that you finish!
I’ve been married for almost 32 years. There was a time when I didn’t think we would celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. My marriage had a rough start. Not only were we teenagers when we got married, but we came from different backgrounds and we had varying views of what marriage should look like. For instance, my husband was somewhat of a “traditionalist”— he wanted me to take his last name yet he wanted me to work outside of the home; I was a little less traditional and wanted to keep my last name, but I wanted to stay at home with any of my future children. The way we each handled conflict was not very healthy— we mimicked our parents in what they did when they encountered conflict in their own marriages (i.e., yelling, throwing dishes, storming out of the house, punching walls, etc.).
Although we attended church, we never really grew as a couple. Even while attending seminary together, we still “butted heads” and we had poor communication skills (at least when we spoke to each other). We took a “marriage enrichment” course, an elective for both of our degree tracks, and after a few weeks we spoke to the teacher, Dr. Cutrer (Dr. C.), and his wife. The discussion with them helped us to realize that we had a lot of work ahead of us; and even though we were more aware of how we were speaking to each other, there was still something missing in our marriage and there was still an underlying tension in our relationship.
It wasn’t until several years later that our marriage actually took a turn for the positive. I was a doctoral student at that point, and my dissertation was on long term marriages that were on the verge of a divorce and how marriage mentoring helped their marriages (https://oatd.org/oatd/record?record=handle\%3A10392\%2F3736). The focus of the study was on marriage mentoring, but there was something other than marriage mentoring that every couple said changed their marriage; and it was that one thing (technically, two things) that changed our own marriage.
That “one thing” was reading the Bible together as a couple then praying with and for each other after reading. The first time we read together felt a little awkward to me, and praying aloud was “different.” We pressed forward though, and now after nearly five years of reading the Bible and praying together, our marriage is stronger and more God-centered than it has ever been. When we have a conflict, we are no longer trying to “win” the argument, nor are we expressing our emotions in a negative way— instead, we readily apologize to one another and we find a solution to the issue.
Our marriage is not perfect, but it is more forgiving— it exemplifies Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” It is also less selfish than what it was—“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others [your spouse] above yourselves” (Phil 2:3).
Whenever we have the opportunity, we tell couples in our church that they should read the Bible together and pray for one another because to actively worship God through their marriage supernaturally changes the marriage and it changes the way they interact with one another. So, if you are married, and you want a more fulfilling marriage, then start reading the Bible together, and then sincerely pray for one another—you will not regret it.