Thursday, 30 May 2013

God's Week Has Seven Days

Do you find that you struggle with making time for God? With such busy schedules these days, I know for myself that I do. Which brings my onto the topic of my new bible book; God's Week Has 7 Days by  Wally Kroeker.

Now I am already halfway through the book and so that's obviously a good sign. I really enjoy the layout of the book. Chapters are sectioned into the months, and then have mini sections on specific topics within the chapter. I find this style helpful to read because it makes it easier to bookmark, and it also makes me read more because I don't feel obligated to read 30 pages at a time. I also find this style very helpful in doing group discussion prep work. I just read with my notebook beside me and add thoughts on each mini section as I go.  

Now let's talk about content. This book focuses on helping us incorporate our relationship with God in all areas of our lives. It talks about giving God your best hours, and challenges us to live different lives and not just fill in the same secular mold (ex. Business world) 

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

One of my favourite parts of the book so far was on page 66 called "Waddling Down Unfriendly Aisles". In this portion, Wally describes his experiences of walking into clothing stores and employees judging him and making him feel like he doesn't belong here due to his size. Later, Wally then talks about his experience at a big' n tall type of a store and how welcoming and accepting they were. He then compares the two places to churches and asks:

"Are they sometimes like the snobbish shops in the mall, catering to the beautiful, the sleek and the slender, and coolly avoiding those who are so far from perfection? Or are they more like the Big' n Tall, welcoming the odd shaped, the ungainly, and others who don't fit society's image of acceptability?" -Page 68

I have experience two churches who were just like this example, so I found these questions powerful and true. Church is not meant to be a place where we hold our noses up in the air and judge others and their mistakes. It's a place where broken people (ALL OF US)  come together in celebration of a God who loves us all and who accepts us, scars and all. 

That is was what I took away from my reading so far. I could've delved more into the book (very good!), but then I'd be looking at a VERY long blog post. Plus, I enjoy having main topics for PCRs, not just a summary of everything I read.

So until next time!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Tripping At The Finish Line

It's that time of year. Everyone is counting down the days until school is over, and trying to pretend that exams will just disappear. I look back on this past week and I can honestly say, I don't remember it. I feel like so much is going on all at once, that my brain is spinning! Not only am I stressing out about my classes and making sure I have everything in place to graduate, but I'm kind of freaking out about how to finish off my independent project. I want it to be really good, but I don't have anything to measure it by since I'm the only one doing it. So I have been trying to brain storm some ideas and these are the two i've thought of as a final for my project:

1. Create 1 more meal and 1 more dessert. Then create a powerpoint of my trials and what I've learnt from each. With this presentation, serve either an medium sized appetizer platter (with three options) or a dessert platter (with 1-3 options).


2. Create 2 more meals and 2 more desserts. Then create a powerpoint of my trials and what I've learnt from each (No food served).

I think personally, I prefer option one. Mainly because I like sharing the food I make and getting my classes feedback (no pun intended!).

So what should I serve my class with my powerpoint? Desserts? Or Appetizers? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Reflection and True Living

This post is my last update on the book Reason For God by Timothy Keller. I had been warned before reading it that it was a tough read, and now I understand why. Not only does the author use difficult words and confusing sentence structure often, but the topics being discussed are SO huge that it has been hard for me to read more than a page at a time!

One of the questions that stood out a lot for me as well as my book group was : "Is there a Hell?"
This question was INTENSE! When I have thought about it in the past, I have struggled with the idea of God sending his children to an eternal suffering, or people CHOOSING it for that matter! My dad always said to me "I don't believe in a God that would do something like that."
But after some discussing, our teacher joined in and brought up a very good point (in particular for myself and my confusion on the answer). He brought up the point that people can see or hear things and still choose not to believe. They don't want to believe. They are not interested in knowing the God of all things. So its not so much that they 'want' or 'choose' suffering, but that they choose a life without God.

So after the discussion I turned to the Bible and looked into this a bit more, and what God says about eternal life and eternal suffering. What I came to realize is that, not only are we asked to believe, but we are asked to ACT on what we believe. Just like a surgeon cannot earn the title until he has finished Med school, can we as christians earn the title through our actions and work.

In Luke 25:34-46 it talks about just this:

Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?
 And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.  
 Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. Then they also will answer, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?
 Then he will answer them, saying, Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

The big thing I took away from Reason For God was a new willingness to find answers for myself. I have developed a deeper interest to try and respond to the bigger questions of christianity and believe they are important to know. I'm not saying that there is an answer to everything, but I feel now an eagerness to check and see, and not just live in ignorant bliss.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Good Morning!

This week I tried something new. Breakfast. To be honest, I love breakfast. But when it comes to getting up early enough to make and eat it, I chose sleep instead. This weekend however was my sister's and my cousin's birthday weekend and I thought I would treat them with a breakfast surprise. I was inspired by the restaurant Chez Coras (A family favourite!) and its menu of deliciousness! So I googled away and found some recipes right off the Cora website. After that I made a little menu for my cousins and siblings to chose from and went grocery shopping.

The night before my parents and I began setting up the living to make it look more like a restaurant. With some curtains and a little bit a waitress/restaurant knowledge, the room looked ready to go! I got up at 8:30am and began doing some prep work before waking up the kids. My step-mom helped me with this whole excursion and I owe her a LOT of gratitude! So we chopped up fruit, made the crepe batter, and got the other foods ready to go. Then we woke those sleepy teens up and sat them at their table. They were all pretty impressed. When it came to ordering their meals, they didn't chose much variety so I only got to try a few of the items off the menu.

It was a lot of fun, I have to admit. The kitchen was crazy busy and there was a lot to do, but we worked well together and served some tasty looking breakfast. Everyone enjoyed the food and I received many praises. I have to say that breakfast is one of the nicer meals to make since the recipes are (usually) not too complicated, but can be made unique and your own. One of the fun recipes I tried out (that wasn't from the Cora menu) was a Nutella French Toast. I will definitely be making that one again!

 Hope you enjoy and maybe feel inspired to do this for someone else on their birthdays!

Till next time,

Monday, 13 May 2013

Who Were They?

This was the big question this past week as we all worked on writing graduation biographies. Since I am on the yearbook committee (again) I know the importance a good bio is to the whole yearbook experience. Nobody likes reading an emotionally empty biography! So for the bio I have been writing, I have been going for a light hearted but sweet feel.
Something I learned this week while working on these bios was the 6 techniques to effective writing.
these are as follows:
1. Idea (What is the topic?)
2. Organization (How is it laid out?)
3. Word Choice (Specific nouns and action verbs?)
4. Sentence Style (Variety?)
5. Voice (What personally and tone?)
6. Conventions and Corrections (Effort and time put in)

I found these techniques helpful in tidying up my writing. Little fixes here and there.
Writing these bios have kind of been freaking me out! I can't believe how close we are to the end of this chapter! Sometimes it feels like I'm still in elementary counting down the years. Now i'm counting down the days and I can't decide whether I want them to speed up or slow down!

Another part of our week was reflection. My classmates and I would help each other out in writing the grad bios. We would all look back over the years at specific people and events and try to capture them in our writing.

It has been an amazing high school experience (minus all the drama and homework). I have been so blessed with the amazing classmates and close friends I have made. I couldn't have asked for a better grade to graduate with.

What's Cooking?

Well! Do I ever have a story for you! This past week I attempted..wait for it...AN ENTIRE MEAL! I have to admit, I was a little terrified. I was trying out a new recipe and I wanted my family to like it. So for this week's learning log, I am going to tell you about Trial #2 in the kitchen!

I got the recipe for a BBQ Beef off of All Recipe's 'Recipes in Motion' video. It was a pretty laid back meal to make. I made the BBQ sauce the night before and set out the meat to thaw. Then in the morning before I left for school, I simply put the meat into the slow cooker and the covered it with the sauce. When I got home from school I took the meat out of the cooker, cut it up, and then put it back in for another hour. We ate our BBQ with toasted buns. I found that spreading some mayo onto the bun REALLY enhanced the flavour. Overall my test tasters (my family) and I gave this meal 9/10. The only reason we deducted marks was because we felt that adding onions and some swiss cheese would make it better.

While the meat was simmering for that extra hour, I started on the salad. This salad is one of our family favourites. Simply adding spinach, dried cranberries, and candied sunflower seeds into the bowl, then preparing the dressing. The dressing I made was from the same recipe and it included poppy seeds, sugar, paprika, apple cider vinegar, vegetable oil, and 2 teaspoons of minced onion. My family and I enjoyed this salad but it seemed like something was a bit off (maybe gone bad?).
If something tastes off, how do you figure out what it is?

Last but CERTAINLY not least! I made a dessert. Aw yes, this was the part I was most excited for. I found this awesome recipe from the Baked Perfection's web
site. They are called 'S'more Cookies'. Mmmm...

I usually don't like making changes to new recipes (get a feel for it first, then adjust), but this recipe I felt had WAY too much sugar in it. Not only did it have 1 1/2 cups of sugar (brown and white combined) but it also had graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chunks, little marshmallows, AND chocolate chips. So I didn't add chocolate chips, but it was still quite sweet. So these cookies I would say would have scored better for me personally if they weren't so overly sweet. But they do look fantastic and taste good (with a glass of milk!)

Overall a great experience. I am finding myself more and more comfortable being in the kitchen, and that was the biggest component to this project, so hurray!



Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Scholarship Supporters

Hey everyone! I have loved writing this blog for the past few months and seeing all my views and comments from each of you. It has been a HUGE comfort and happiness to see people enjoy my writing and share with others. BUT! Now I have a favour to ask of you...

I am applying for a scholarship called The Amazing Travel Scholarship from S-Trip and to qualify, I need people to go to the linked page and click support, as well as leaving a comment (comment would be great, but support is most important).  So support it, tweet it, comment it, share it...All and any of these things would be wonderful!

So I am posting the link to my page here. I would really like to receive this scholarship and so any support you show would make me SO happy and I would be very appreciative! Thank you all again for being so amazing.


Reason For God

New book! Last week I started reading a book called Reason For God by Timothy Keller. The book is basically a pastor talking about and attempting to answer frequently heard questions about Christianity-but mainly God. Timothy makes a point of not only referencing the Bible for answers, but philosophies,  literature, real life conversations, quotes, and reasoning as well.

Something I have really been enjoying about this book is how well Timothy supports his points. For almost every point he has made (thus far) has been supported by at least 3 of the references listed above. I also enjoy the questions he attempts to answer; such as 'How could a good God allow there to be so much evil and suffering?'. I think he picked good topics and did a good job answering them!

So I want to talk mainly about that question 'How could a good God allow there to be so much evil and suffering?' and how Timothy reveals the greater problem with Non-Believers and world suffering. Here is a quote from page 26:

People, we believe ought not not to suffer, be excluded, die of hunger or oppression. But the evolutionary mechanism of natural selection depends on death, destruction, and violence of the strong against the weak- these things are all perfectly natural. On what basis does an atheist judge the world to be horribly wrong, unfair and unjust? - Timothy Keller

I thought this answer was GENIUS! I had never thought of it that way before, and then it also made me think of a quote I'd read by Einstein in answering the question ' If God created everything, then he created the evil, which means God is evil.':

Does cold exist? In fact, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat.
Does darkness exist? Darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness.
Evil does not exist. It is just like darkness and cold. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart - Albert Einstein. 

This book may be quite hard to read (the writing style seems more like a lecture than a personal conversation), but it is very interesting! It is kind of an affirmer in your faith, and it is also good information to know when your faith is challenged.

Lets see how this continues next week!


Visible Faith (Under the Overpass #2)

So this is my final PCR on the book Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski. I really enjoyed this book. Not only did it hold a great message to visibly live the christian life (practice what you preach), but it also gave a huge insight to how many people are experiencing homelessness in our on cities or countries, and we do not notice. For this PCR I want to focus mainly on those two elements of the book. One of my favourite quotes from the book is:

“Sometimes it's easy to walk by because we know we can't change someones whole life in a single afternoon. But what we fail to realize it that simple kindness can go a long way toward encouraging someone who is stuck in a desolate place.”- Mike Yankoski

This statement stood out to me so much because it makes sense! Like I mentioned in my last PCR, I did some volunteer work at Siloam Mission with my school. The very first task I had was to go and be friendly with the homeless in the front foyer. I will tell you know, that what nerve racking! All these broken and rugged people watching me as I walked closer did not bring comfort to me, nor did the worries of trying to make conversation. I wanted to change lives. But how would I achieve that? I found out that just asking about someone's day and giving them smiles goes a long way.

I believe a lot of society gives up on homeless people, assuming they're too far gone, criminals, or addicts. While some of that may be true, its not always the case. Under the Overpass was a sweet reminder that no matter your living situation, people are people and therefore should be treated that way.

While reading this book this piece of scripture bounced around in my head from Matthew 25:34-41:

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

I think what I will take away from this book, more than anything else is that I need to LIVE my faith. Yes, I do believe that faith is a personal thing between yourself and God, but I also believe that God has called us (as written in Matthew) to care for the broke and the hungry. Mike Yankoski has encouraged me to step out of my little bubble and try to care for those who need it. I hope more than anything to return to Siloam Mission soon and continue volunteering there!

Thanks for another great book Mr. Hazeu!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A Confusing 451°F Week

Can you guess what this post is going to be about? Maybe a little Bradbury? Yep. As a class we have started discussing the book Fahrenheit 451. Not all of us are finished yet..And I am thinking of rereading parts of it again because I am quite confused..

The questions brought up in class (ex. What societal problems does Bradbury see in his time and exaggerate?) are really good questions that I have no clue on how to answer.
I found the book quite confusing as well as dull. I appreciated Bradbury's skill at creating emotion simply by writing things in a way that cause irritation, confusion, etc. But I found his repetition of  this technique kind of annoying (maybe that was the point?) and boring. This book for me was a book I had a hard time focusing on. I would zone out a lot and then have to re-read the whole paragraph!

Another part of the book I had a hard time swallowing was Mildred character. She drove me nuts! The entire time I read about her, I envisioned her as this zombie staring at the screen and selfishly whining over everything Montag would say. Urgh! Why is her character so hard to love? As the reader, I wanted Montag to have a supportive wife, but Mildred just crumpled up that dream! Another question brought up in class was: "How did Mildred and Montag's marriage end up like we see it?". And yet again, I feel like I have no good answer. I assumed that they just kind of got married out of practicality with no real love to begin with and then other time, even more distance grew between them.

So my conclusion from this past week was one of disappointment. I may have 'read' the book, but I didn't READ the book. Maybe due to the fact that I would zone out so much, but now I have to re-read this book just to feel like I've got a grasp of the meaning.

Suiting Up Your Recipe Options!

This past week was hectic. With report cards around the corner, everyone rushed to get in the late assignments we'd pretended never existed! Project-wise, I have been trying to find recipes and websites, and I found some good ones! Here is a list of the MUST know recipe sites:

1. Youtube:
Probably weren't expecting that, but Youtube seems to have everything! Simply typing in 'How to cook' will bring up a list of options for you to choose from. My favourite thing about using Youtube for cooking/baking is that then I get to watch them MAKE the food, not just a list of 'To Dos' (That's good to have as well!). I use the Allrecipes 'Recipes in Motion' a lot. Great recipe options and usually pretty simple.

2. Baking Addictions:
This blog I came across just recently. The blogger, Jamie posts creative recipes that are both beautiful to the eyes AND the mouth! One of the recipes on my 'Have to Bake' list is her Twix Brownie recipe! My sister loves Twix and I like the fact that its nut free so I know I don't have to change the recipe around (Since I have people in my household who are allergic).

3. Baked Perfection:
This is another really awesome blog I found written by a women named Risa. She has SO many recipes to choose from and I enjoy how unique each one is. I will definitely be using this website for a dessert of some kind!

4. Munchkin Munchies:
I found this last blog just the other day. It isn't fully finished yet (a lot of things say under construction), but the blog has all these cute little treats! As you can probably tell from my last (only) baking trial, I enjoy cute food. So this website was an exciting find! I am looking forward to seeing how it is updated and to find more cute recipes to make.

5. All Recipes:
Well known, I know. But handy none the less. If you haven't used All Recipes before, It is a handy cookbook-like website where people can upload recipes and rate/review them. I use this website mainly for supper dishes and reading suggestions from reviews.

So there you have it! A list of great websites for baking (and cooking). I hope you find this helpful in your own kitchen endeavours. In the next week or so, I plan on posting a NEW TRIAL! Hurray! I'll keep ya posted! (...Pun intended.)