Tuesday, March 31, 2009
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, chilled
2/3 cup milk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a baking sheet.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and sugar. With hands, rub butter into dry ingredients until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.
Add milk, mixing after first 1/3 cup, adding remaining milk a little at a time, if needed. Blend together just until ingredients form a ball. Dough should be stiff and not sticky.
Turn dough onto a floured board and gently knead into a round, about 1 inch thick. Slice dough into equal wedges, or cut into rounds using a 3 inch biscuit cutter or glass. Place about 1 inch apart on buttered sheet.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot from the oven with jam and whipped cream (since it's hard to find actual 'clotted' cream in the US).
Variations: Before adding milk, mix in 1/3 cup of your favorite: dried cranberries or cherries, raisins or currants, chocolate chips or pecans.
Tips: Don't overmix or knead the dough too long. If you want to prepare them ahead, mix dry ingredients and set aside, adding milk just before baking; or mix together, cut into shapes, then freeze the dough until you're ready to bake.
Her worth is far above rubies ."
Have you ever seen rubies straight from the mine? To the untrained eye they look more like aquarium gravel than precious jewels. But once a master jeweler gets finished with one—grinding, polishing, cutting, shaping, and even refining it with fire—the beauty that lay hidden beneath the marred surface is exposed for all to admire.
It's an exacting process to take a rough chunk of mineral and create a valuable jewel. It's not easy—a ruby is second in hardness only to a diamond. And it takes the skill of a master to see the possibilities in each stone—to choose just the right size, shape, and pattern of facets to best display the gem's inherent beauty. A properly cut stone is perfectly balanced, so the light that enters the face doesn't pass through, but reflects from one facet onto another, creating a fascinating, ever-changing kaleidoscope.
Brilliant. Shining. Multi-faceted. Colorful. Sparkling....words used to describe a fine gem. The same words can describe a fine woman.
Proverbs 31 describes a lady who's "a real gem." She's the type of woman that a mother wants her son to marry—respected by the community, praised by her family, industrious, wise, resourceful, enterprising. And while we might resent if someone holds us up to that seemingly impossible standard (and the implication that we're not really okay the way we are), we still make our own efforts to become just such a woman.
I used to resent her when I was under the impression that this woman had her act all together from the start. But one of the things that came with my new perspective on Proverbs 31 is the recognition that it's not about being a 'finished product' right from the start. This passage is looking back at what a virtuous woman can become over a lifetime. That seems do-able.
That's what Ruby Tuesdays is about. It's a closer look at the many possibilities our lives can include. Based on characteristics that made one ideal gem of a woman beautiful, each post will explore one element that can add radiance to our lives as well. Every Tuesday we'll look at aspects of life such as:
- Financial management and investing
- Interior decorating
- Working from home
- Knowing God
...an almost unlimited combination of pursuits. Some of the facets may not fit into our lives just now; others may not belong there at all. And we don't need to perfect each of these traits; we need to see that the aspects of life that seem so ordinary are actually reflections of the character and nature of God. We'll find the meaning in the mundane by considering the spiritual as well as the practical perspective of these pursuits.
And the most important thing to remember is that we aren't expected to become shining, brilliant reflections of God by our own efforts any more than a pebble of corundum becomes a sparkling ruby without help.
The Master Jeweler knows what we were intended to look like from the beginning. He works carefully and slowly to shape us perfectly, creating just the right combination of characteristics to reflect His light in our lives. And He has promised that little by little, with His help, we will become the fully faceted, beautiful women he created us to be.
"...of this one thing I am certain, He who began a good work in you will perfect it." Phil. 1:6 NASB
If you blog about any of the topics listed above sometime during the week, you're welcome to use Mr Linky so others can see your post (please use the URL from the specific post itself, not just your blog URL).
You can also grab the Ruby Tuesdays code and place the button in your sidebar so more of your bloggy friends can come along. I look forward to seeing you on Tuesdays to discover more ways we can become the 'gems' God intends us to be. (And don't forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway. Mention Ruby Tuesdays on your blog and get another entry. Winner chosen on April 7.)
I've been doing this blogging thing for less than a year, so I'm new to the parties and festivals and such. I decided to take the plunge though, and join the biggest of them all, The Ultimate Blog Party hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom (where I've found many of my favorite blogs).
For the next week hundreds (thousands?) of bloggers will link to their party page and invite the bloggy world to stop by for a visit. And there are plenty of "party favors" being given away as part of the hoopla.
I had fun with my first giveaway a couple of weeks ago, and decided to offer something for the blog party too. A lucky participant will get and "Afternoon Tea in a Box;" one of my special giant shortbread cookies and my personal chai blend (trust me, it's better than anything you can buy at your grocery store). I'm including a copy of my devotional book "Tea and Inspiration."
So if you're interested, you'll follow this link to the prize page, then follow the directions for letting the coordinator know which prize(s) you'd like to be entered to win.
But wait! There's more!
I'm going to offer another "Afternoon Tea in a Box" to one lucky visitor to Refreshmoments. If you're interested, leave a comment on this post, or one of the next three "Ruby Tuesdays" posts (March 24, 31 or April 7). I'll give you one entry for each of the posts, so if you stop by all four dates, you have four chances to win.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
So when the kids came home from an outing with Hubs and said something about a 'smiley face' on the back of the car, I didn't really think much about it. When I went out later and saw the quarter-sized yellow decal just above the rear windshield wiper, I figured it was cheerful and innocuous enough to leave for a little while.
Until a few days later when I went to get the sand toys out of the back of the car and I got a better look. It wasn't just a run of the mill smiley-face sticker; it's a Walmart smiley-face sticker.
Now, I'm not entirely anti-Walmart. But in the Walmart/Target war, I'm firmly in the Target camp. If I lived in one of those small towns without any other department or variety stores, I'd probably shop Walmart with the best of 'em, but I don't. I have lots of choices and I mostly choose other places first.
So I realized that I'd been driving around promoting a store that I rarely go to, let alone want to advertise personally. There was a message behind that little smiley face that isn't exactly what I thought I was putting out there.
That got me to thinking about how often there's something hidden behind our smiles. In casual passing an acquaintance asks, "How are you?" We smile and respond with the expected and socially acceptable, "Fine/good. How are you?" We all keep going, sometimes guilty of not really telling the truth, other times guilty of not really seeing the truth behind the smile.
It's a dilemma for me. I know I've been guilty of the former many times over the past year or so. There were plenty of days when things were neither "fine" nor "good," but I gave the requisite response anyway.
Maybe I wasn't really at liberty to give details. It's possible there wasn't a solid enough relationship to risk putting the whole story out there. In some cases I probably didn't believe the other person really wanted the truth of the matter.
And I've been just as guilty of seeing that flicker of "Things aren't really fine," in someone else's eyes, but I didn't stop them to hear the details.
One of the things that has always been important to me is to not be fake. I'm still not sure how to balance my desire to be 'real' with my need for self-preservation from trusting people with details that don't belong to them, but I think I want to try.
So, I'm challenging myself to go ahead and smile. But may it be a genuine heartfelt smile, even in the midst of trying times.
And I'm going to work on giving a genuine answer to a genuine question (I still might not stop and 'spill' when I don't know that the hearer really wants to hear it).
And I will try to take the extra step to ask the follow-up question when I encounter someone whose "fine/good" rings with hesitation.
Will you join me?
What do you fear? The literal storms that rage outside? The figurative storms that blow inside? Economic hardship? What are you doing to combat the creeping concern that things may get worse before they get better? I'd love to hear verses that comfort you, or steps that you are taking to keep fear at bay when so much of what we're hearing seems to imply we should "be afraid, be very afraid."
Thanks to everyone who participated in the first Ruby Tuesdays by leaving a comment or linking to a post of your own. I look forward to interacting with you all more.
"Here Mommy, look what I got you!" Bug thrust a small, lumpy, kindergarten-wrapping job bundle into my hand as I picked him up from Sunday School.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Now, I think she's included in scripture to let women know the many possibilities and opportunities our lives can hold; a life that encompasses caring and creativity and career and community.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Boo gathered his thoughts and shouted back, "Don't DO that!!"
My three year old has an extensive vocabulary and expresses himself very clearly for his age, but when he gets emotional he seems to forget that he can speak for himself. Instead we are regaled with a variety of screams, screeching and other forms of self-expression.
I've tried to reason with him, calm him, and so forth in those moments, but I often forget to tell him to slow down and "use your words." I can't fix the situation for him until I can actually understand what he needs.
We do the same thing with God. Life throws us a curve-ball and we throw a fit, figuratively (or literally) stomping around, making sure it's clear we aren't happy but never really expressing the trouble.
Jesus said, "Ask and it will be given to you." (Luke 11:9) We have a heavenly Father who wants to meet our needs, but sometimes He wants us to stop screeching and just say it.
Something new is coming to RefreshMoments! Stop by on Tuesday, March 10 and find a new way to connect with others in blogdom and give them an opportunity to find you as well. I'll be hosting my first give-away too!